The top 7 new tourist attractions around the world

Madison Blancaflor

While 2020 was a year marked by closures, lockdowns and travel being paused for most people, 2021 has been filled with reopenings , rebooked trips and new projects coming to life after a year put on hold.

The travel industry is still on the mend and facing challenges , but there is a lot to look forward to as we head into the holiday season and 2022. Here's a look at the top new tourist attractions you should consider putting on your travel list for next year.

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Summit One Vanderbilt

world new tourist attractions

If you've been dreaming of views of the New York City skyline, check out Summit One Vanderbilt . It's the city's newest observation deck that sits above Grand Central Terminal.

The views are stunning, but that's not the only thing that Summit One Vanderbilt has to offer. Interactive art installations throughout the space offer unique new ways to experience the city.

Levitation "sky boxes" suspend visitors over the city, and the two-story mirrored space (Transcendence) transports travelers into what feels like a tesseract from "Interstellar." There's also a room called Affinity that's filled with silver balloons and mirrors.

But no matter where you are within the Summit One Vanderbilt space, you'll be sure to see a different view of the Big Apple in all its captivating beauty.

Related: 3 ways to experience New York City, whether you're on a budget or have money to burn

Munch Museum

Art lovers can head to the newly reopened Munch museum in Oslo, Norway. The museum, which houses the world's largest collection of art from Edvard Munch, first opened in May 1963, but it has undergone a major renovation in recent years. The new Munch museum opened in October and offers 11 galleries filled with more than 200 works of art on permanent display.

Tickets for adults are 160 NOK (about $18.50), but kids 15 and younger can visit for free.

Marvel's Avengers Campus at Disneyland

world new tourist attractions

Of course, we can't talk about the best attractions without mentioning Disneyland's newest addition: Marvel's Avengers Campus .

If you're a fan of Marvel superheroes such as Spiderman, Black Widow and the Dora Milaje, you may have the chance to meet them while at the park. You can also check out attractions like Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure (the area's newest attraction) and Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout!

No Disney park area would be complete without food options. Check out superhero favorites Pym Test Kitchen and Shawarma Palace while there.

Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Disneyland

Little Island

world new tourist attractions

Another newly opened attraction in New York City you won't want to miss is Little Island . Head to Pier 54 along the Hudson River to experience this floating park made from 132 concrete platforms that sprout from the water like tulips.

The park offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city, with more than 100 trees, 350 different flower species and lots of activities for the entire family. The area also has an amphitheater (The Amph) that hosts all sorts of performances and events. There are nearby food trucks, too, so you can grab a bite to eat while visiting.

It's starting to get colder in New York, so you may want to hold off on visiting this spot until spring. But if you're planning a trip to New York during the warmer months, make sure you add this to your must-do list.

CopenHill climbing wall

world new tourist attractions

Denmark is now home to the world's tallest artificial claiming wall. While CopenHill in Copenhagen, Denmark, technically opened in 2020, 2021 is the first year U.S. travelers really had the chance to check it out.

On the side of the almost 280-foot-tall building is a wall that expert climbers can scale. There are 10 routes to the top, all with varying levels of difficulty, but you'll need to be an experienced climber (and at least 18 years old) to take part. This is most certainly not for beginners.

The wall is the newest addition to CopenHill, which also offers a number of other outdoor activities. The building roof slopes down, providing an area filled with places to run, hike and even ski or snowboard.

Related: Denmark has reopened to fully-vaccinated US and UK travelers

world new tourist attractions

For those who prefer relaxation to an adrenaline rush, there's Iceland's new thermal spa near downtown Reykjavík. Sky Lagoon is an oceanside geothermal lagoon that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

Passes to the spa start at 6,990 ISK (around $54), but you can purchase more expensive passes that include a seven-step spa treatment called The Ritual.

If you're lucky (and time your visit right), you might even experience the northern lights while you take a tip in the warm waters of the lagoon.

Related: Iceland trip-planning from A to Z: Glaciers, geothermal spas and lava caves

'Game of Thrones' studio tour

No matter what you think of the final season of "Game of Thrones," I think we can all agree that the filming locations and set design were stunning. Many filming locations in Belfast, Ireland and Dubrovnik, Croatia, have been popular tourist spots for years, but a new studio tour is set to open at Linen Mills Studio in Northern Ireland at some point this year.

Related: Unbelievable castles from 'Game of Thrones' you can visit in real life

Once it officially opens (at the time of writing, the website promised a date sometime this year), the studio tour will take visitors through real sets used in the show with original set pieces, weaponry, props, costumes and more. The tour has been developed in partnership with HBO, and it is set to be the only permanent, officially licensed "Game of Thrones" experience in the world.

The studio is in the midst of hiring for the attraction now, so our fingers are crossed that the opening will stay on track for later this year. Winter is coming, after all.

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The world's 51 best tourist attractions.

Organize your travel calendar to include these must-see places around the world.

Top tourist attractions in the world

(Getty Images) |

Fully experience and appreciate the most memorable spots on your next adventure.

The Great Pyramids of Giza is a top tourist attraction in the world

Great Pyramid of Giza: Giza, Egypt

Eiffel Tower in Paris is a top tourist attraction in the world

Eiffel Tower: Paris, France

The Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles is a top tourist attraction in the world

Hollywood Sign: Los Angeles, California

Berlin Wall in Eastside Gallery, Berlin is a top tourist attraction in the world

Berlin Wall Memorial's East Side Gallery: Berlin, Germany

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is a top tourist attraction in the world

La Sagrada Familia: Barcelona, Spain

The Grand Palace in Bangkok is a top tourist attraction in the world

Grand Palace: Bangkok, Thailand

Mount Fuji in Japan is a top tourist attraction in the world

Mount Fuji: Shizuoka, Japan

Tower of London is a top tourist attraction in the world

Tower of London: London, England

Las Vegas Strip is a top tourist attraction in the world

The Strip: Las Vegas, Nevada

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is a top tourist attraction in the world

Neuschwanstein Castle: Bavaria, Germany

Ubud in Bali is a top tourist attraction in the world

Ubud: Bali, Indonesia

Most beautiful places in the world

Burj Khalifa: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Statue of Liberty in New York City is a top tourist attraction in the world

Statue of Liberty: New York, New York

The Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai is a top tourist attraction in the world

Oriental Pearl TV Tower: Shanghai, China

The Colosseum in Rome is a top tourist attraction in the world

Colosseum: Rome, Italy

The Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland is a top tourist attractions in the world

The Matterhorn: Zermatt, Switzerland

Blue Mosque in Istanbul is a top tourist attraction in the world

Blue Mosque: Istanbul, Turkey

Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong is a top tourist attraction in the world

Victoria Harbour: Hong Kong

Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Burkey is a top tourist attraction in the world

Library of Celsus: Ephesus, Turkey

Times Square in New York City is a top tourist attraction in the world

Times Square: New York, New York

The world's best tourist attractions

Buckingham Palace: London, England

The leaning tower of Pisa is a top tourist attraction in the world

Leaning Tower of Pisa: Pisa, Italy

The Forbidden City in Beijing is a top tourist attraction in the world

Forbidden City: Beijing, China

The Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London is a top tourist attraction in the world

(Courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum) |

Rosetta Stone, British Museum: London, England

Disneyland in Anaheim, California is a top tourist attraction in the world

(Courtesy of Disneyland) |

Disneyland Resort: Anaheim, California

Tulum in Mexico is a top tourist attraction in the world

Tulum: Mexico

Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul is a top tourist attraction in the world

Gyeongbokgung Palace: Seoul, South Korea

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is a top tourist attraction in the world

(Courtesy of Matt Stroshane & Disneyland) |

Walt Disney World Resort: Orlando, Florida

Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina is a top tourist attraction in the world

Iguazu Falls: Brazil and Argentina

The Vatican in Italy is a top tourist attraction in the world

Vatican City

Top tourist attractions in the world

Sydney Opera House: Sydney, Australia

Mount Everest is a top tourist attraction in the world

Mount Everest: Nepal and Tibet

Petra in Jordan is a top tourist attraction in the world

Petra: Jordan

The Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris is a top tourist attraction in the world

Mona Lisa: Paris, France

The Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian, China is a top tourist attraction in the world

Terra Cotta Warriors: Xi'an, China

Borobudur Temple in Java, Indonesia is a top tourist attraction in the world

Borobudur Temple: Java, Indonesia

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is a top tourist attraction in the world

Mount Kilimanjaro: Tanzania

Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech, Morocco is a top tourist attraction in the world

Jemaa el-Fna: Marrakech, Morocco

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janiero in Brazil is a top tourist attraction in the world

Christ the Redeemer: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Great Wall of China is a top tourist attraction in the world

Great Wall of China: China

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is a top tourist attraction in the world

Taj Mahal: Agra, India

The Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is a top tourist attraction in the world

Meiji Shrine: Tokyo, Japan

Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa is a top tourist attraction in the world

Table Mountain: Cape Town, South Africa

Niagara Falls is a top tourist attraction in the world

Niagara Falls: New York and Ontario, Canada

Zócalo in Mexico City is a top tourist attraction in the world

Zócalo: Mexico City, Mexico

Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia is a top tourist attraction in the world

Angkor Archaeological Park: Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Galapagos Islands are a top tourist attraction in the world

Galápagos Islands: Ecuador

Hong Kong, China - Oct 4, 2016: Unidentified Asian teenage girl with a ponytail hairstyle is taking photo of the Fairytales Sleeping Beauty Castle, at Disneyland Hong Kong. Editorial Used Only.

Tokyo Disney Resort: Urayasu, Japan

Acropolis in Athens, Greece is a top tourist attraction in the world

Acropolis: Athens, Greece

The world's best tourist attractions

Golden Gate Bridge: San Francisco, California

The world's best tourist attractions

Navy Pier: Chicago, Illinois

The world's best tourist attractions

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An Indian woman wearing a traditional sari wrap is using a taper to light a whole wall filled with hundreds of little oil lamps. They are illuminated and casting a bright glow over the scene; each lamp is set in its own little box within the wooden wall structure, tied with supporting pieces of bamboo. There are bunches of tiny bananas also tied to the top of the wall case.

London  Copied to clipboard!

A buzzing city ready for a coronation, a brand-new airport link and a prehistoric colossus read more.

Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

The Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace has a royal marching band walking out of the palace gates, with waiting crowds gathered and police standing nearby. The band are blowing their instruments and wearing navy topcoats with gold buttons and gold helmets with long red tassels hanging from the top.

Between an altered post-lockdown landscape, sensational changeovers at 10 Downing Street and the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there is no doubt that London is in transition. But the city continues to juxtapose old traditions and new possibilities, offering something for everyone who loves culture, history, art and nightlife.

For fans of the royal family, and maybe a few naysayers, the crowning of King Charles III , Britain’s first coronation in seven decades, will be the main event in May. There’s also the revamping of Battersea Power Station , an iconic former coal-fired power plant, into a shopping and leisure hub, and a new line on the Underground will directly connect Heathrow Airport to the central boroughs. A cast of a titanosaur, the largest creature ever to walk the planet, will make its European debut at the Natural History Museum , and late-night obsessives can head to newly opened dance clubs like the Beams . Big changes, yes, but a wealth of new choices, too.

— Isabella Kwai

Morioka  Copied to clipboard!

A walkable gem without the crowds, just a short bullet train ride from tokyo read more.

Andrew Faulk for The New York Times

Morioka, Japan

Until this past October, Japan maintained some of the most stringent travel restrictions of any major country. Now, travelers are beginning to stream back to popular destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

The city of Morioka, in Iwate Prefecture, however, is often passed over or outright ignored. Circumscribed by mountains, it lies a few hours north of Tokyo by Shinkansen, the Japanese high-speed rail lines. Morioka’s downtown is eminently walkable. The city is filled with Taisho-era buildings that mix Western and Eastern architectural aesthetics as well as modern hotels, a few old ryokan (traditional inns) and winding rivers. One draw is an ancient castle site turned into a park.

There’s also fantastic coffee, including one of Japan’s third-wave originators: Nagasawa Coffee, whose owner, Kazuhiro Nagasawa, is so committed to his beans that he uses a vintage German-made Probat roaster, which he personally imported and restored. Azumaya serves up all-you-can-eat wanko soba , which comes served in dozens of tiny bowls; Booknerd offers classic Japanese art books; and Johnny’s, a jazz cafe, has been open for over 40 years. An hour west by car: Lake Tazawa and dozens of world-class hot springs.

— Craig Mod

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park  Copied to clipboard!

The majesty and awe of towering buttes in a setting fit for hollywood read more.

Rachael Wright

Three enormous sandstone towers, which appear to be several hundred feet tall, rise above a flat, red landscape, while a road curves through the foreground. The sky above is light blue and is partially occluded by wispy white clouds. Small green shrubby plants dot the ground.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park,

Americans have been flocking to national parks, many of which were overrun with visitors during the peak of pandemic-related international border closures. Amid the bustle, peacefully taking in the majesty of nature can be a challenge.

Monument Valley offers a less crowded alternative. The site, known as Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii in Navajo, has been a popular insignia for the American West ever since John Wayne rode in to film “Stagecoach” in 1939, and the grandeur of its cinematic sandstone buttes, towering above a copper-red desert vastness, elicits a feeling of reverence and awe.

The tribal park, which features a 17-mile driving loop, is open to visitors under the stewardship of the Navajo Nation. Its relatively basic infrastructure — in contrast to sites governed by the National Park Service — and its out-of-the-way location on the Arizona-Utah state line help create a more serene experience compared with other awe-inspiring U.S. destinations.

— Rachael Wright

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A misty scottish stonehenge, with all of the mystery and far fewer visitors read more.

Andy Haslam for The New York Times

Kilmartin Glen, Scotland

The sun rises over Kilmartin Glen as it has for thousands of years, illuminating an ancient landscape of more than 800 archaeological monuments sprouting in the mist. This verdant valley on Scotland’s wild west coast is one of the most significant prehistoric sites in Britain, yet it’s largely off the visitor circuit; imagine Stonehenge without the crowds.

Wander among majestic stone circles, standing slabs that jut from the earth, burial cairns and rock carvings of concentric rings, expanding like ripples from a drop of water. And now the past is getting a refresh: The Kilmartin Museum is reopening with expanded exhibits and new experiences that delve into the region’s relics and flourishing natural life, including Moine Mhor (Great Moss), one of the few remaining raised bogs in Europe, above which looms the Iron Age hill fort of Dunadd.

For full immersion into the Scotland of yore, stay at the moody 16th-century Kilmartin Castle , which was recently transformed into a boutique hotel, with vaulted ceilings, copper tubs and a wild swimming pond.

— AnneLise Sorensen

Auckland  Copied to clipboard!

New Zealand

Pastries that rival France’s best, with a side of adventure tourism on the North Island Read more

Susan Wright for The New York Times

Over 20 French pastry cases are set out in rows on a black metal baking tray, in the process of being filled with a cream and having segments of fresh strawberries arranged artfully on top in a circular design. A hand holding a pastry brush is glazing the strawberries.

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is usually considered the entry point for the rest of New Zealand’s natural attractions, but travelers just passing through can miss that it’s also the culinary capital (sorry, Wellington).

Restaurants that have been germinating while the country’s borders were closed are now ready to be sampled by all. Just 10 minutes on foot from the newly renovated downtown, for instance, takes you to Hugo’s Bistro , where a regular clientele, including many lawyers, dines on unfussy French-inspired food that takes advantage of New Zealand’s fertility: Saffron, wasabi and truffles, among other delicacies, are grown in the country. Cazador , a longtime staple of the residential neighborhood Mt. Eden, serves local game in its restaurant and house-cured meats in its delicatessen.

The city’s famous multiculturalism also plays a part: Omni , which opened in 2020 and whose head chef worked at Hong Kong’s Yardbird, makes high-end yakitori, and Little French Pastry ’s founders, originally from France, serve up mille-feuille rivaling Paris’s best.

Palm Springs  Copied to clipboard!

Spotting stars in the streets and counting galaxies in the sky read more.

Beth Coller for The New York Times

A large telescope is aimed upward through a slit in the roof of an observatory dome. The dark blue sky, visible through the slit, is dotted with stars, and the interior of the dome is illuminated with a red light.

Palm Springs, California

Yes, this is the land of midcentury nostalgia, with its low-slung Modernist architecture and the recent return of the 26-foot-tall “ Forever Marilyn ” statue. But these days, there’s another headliner: the surrounding desert, and the dark skies above.

Astrotourism is on the rise, with a constellation of ways to explore the cosmos, including at the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory , which offers tours and monthly “Swoon at the Moon” events. Unfurl a blanket on the desert floor and gaze up at the starry sky at Joshua Tree National Park . This designated International Dark Sky Park has one of the darkest skies in California, with stargazing treks and the annual Night Sky Festival .

The desert nature and history that flourish around Palm Springs are also shaping the city’s landscape, including the new Palm Springs Downtown Park , designed to reflect Indian Canyons , ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza and Museum , which, when it opens later this year, will be one of the largest Native American cultural centers on the West Coast; and new desert-inspired hotels like Azure Sky .

Kangaroo Island  Copied to clipboard!

A haven for koalas and other wild creatures, healing after devastating wildfires read more, kangaroo island, australia.

A short trip from Adelaide, South Australia’s capital, the nearly 1,700-square-mile Kangaroo Island is known for incredible wildlife, breathtaking ocean views and its status as an ecological haven — like a zoo without fences.

Three years ago, devastating fires consumed the island, wiping out wildlife and destroying a famous luxury hotel, the Southern Ocean Lodge . Efforts to rebuild are continuing, and the island is more compelling than ever to visit. New organizations that sprang up to help with the wildlife recovery offer visitors a chance to play a part in funding that regeneration.

At the Kangaroo Island Koala and Wildlife Rescue Centre , you can book a private tour to see the animal hospital facilities, or bottle-feed a joey (a baby kangaroo). At the long-established Seal Bay Conservation Park , you can watch one of Australia’s largest colonies of sea lions frolic on the beach. And in 2023 the Southern Ocean Lodge will reopen, grander and better than before.

— Besha Rodell

Vjosa River  Copied to clipboard!

Cycling through the canyons and valleys of one of europe’s last untamed waterways read more.

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A verdant river valley with undulating mountains surrounding it is shown at sunset. There is a glow over the green as the sun is slowly going down behind the rocky mountains in the distance.

Vjosa River, Albania

Protecting the Vjosa , one of Europe’s last undammed rivers, hasn’t been easy. After a decade of proposed projects that threatened to alter the waterway’s wild flow, its innumerable ecosystems and its valleys strewn with ancient communities, the Albanian government signed a commitment last June to create the Vjosa Wild River National Park .

Making good on that pledge, scheduled to become reality in 2023, will establish a global conservation model while preserving the country’s canyon-lined, 120-mile stretch of the 169-mile waterway, which runs from the Pindus Mountains in Greece to the Adriatic Sea, as well as including around 60 miles of tributaries.

For travelers — on trails like Albania’s new UNESCO Cycling Route (opening January 2023), which runs along the river and visits World Heritage sites like the city of Gjirokastra — safeguarding the Vjosa and its river system, with over 1,100 animal species, encourages responsible discovery of alpine settlements, where locals welcome adventurers for coffee, raki (local fruit brandy) and a chance to imbibe oft-overlooked Balkan culture.

— Alex Crevar

Accra  Copied to clipboard!

Feast first, dance later, in a hub of innovative west african cuisine read more.

Jessica Sarkodie for The New York Times

Three local Ghanaian restaurant staff are busy working behind a tiled bar with a wooden top; there are shelves behind them lined with alcohol bottles of different colors and varieties. There are stools strewn with colorful words in front of the bar, and wait staff, including a waiter carrying a tray with bowls of food, are walking by.

Accra, Ghana

Accra’s food scene typically consists of two schools: “chop bars” that serve traditional, cheap meals like fufu (made from pounded cassava, green plantains or yams) with tomato-based spicy soup, and pricier restaurants serving foreign fare.

Travelers to Accra, Ghana’s capital, can now see a new wave of chefs and entrepreneurs bridging this gap by emphasizing and innovating with local produce. At the Mix, a new restaurant and design hub, the West African staple gari (granulated cassava root) is dyed pink with beetroot and accompanies squid in a passion fruit sauce.

The sustainable food space in Accra is also one to watch; Ghana Food Movement , an educational group, hosts events throughout the year, including a signature Dine & Dance series in which underutilized indigenous ingredients like millet, eaten by Ghanaians almost exclusively as porridge, are made into stars over three courses. The meal is followed by a dance party, of course, in true Ghanaian fashion.

— Jessica Sarkodie

Tromso  Copied to clipboard!

A clear-skied hot spot where aurora seekers are likely to spy their dazzling prize read more.

Nerd Nomads Travel Blog

A deep blue sky is striated with neon green lights, as if shooting upward from a point in the far distance. Closer in the foreground are dramatic hills and a cabin with lights on inside.

Tromso, Norway

After years of low solar activity, projections are looking up for travelers hoping to experience the aurora borealis, or northern lights. As the sun’s volatility increases, with more coronal mass ejections and solar flares, so, too, will the frequency and intensity of the aurora. Experts predict solar activity to peak in 2025, explained Trond S. Trondsen, an aurora expert at Keo Scientific , a designer of specialized optical instruments for space research in Calgary, Alberta. Already, he said, “the number of sunspots are climbing faster than predicted .”

One of the best places to see the northern lights, Tromso, Norway, is more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, and is relatively accessible, as far as reliable viewing locations go. Travelers can get there either by plane or by a combination of train and bus. Cruise ships and ferries are also a possibility.

Most important, the town’s surrounding landscape, near the sea but with mountains nearby, offers enough distinct weather zones to make it likely that there will be clear skies most nights — a must for seeing the lights when they do appear.

— Ingrid Williams

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park  Copied to clipboard!

Blinding white dunes and aquamarine pools in an otherworldly natural water park read more.

Scott Baker

An expansive dune of windswept white sand stretches out to the horizon, with a blue-green lake in the midground. The sky above is partly cloudy and deeply blue.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

Want to feel like you’ve traveled so far that you’re only vaguely tethered to Earth? Welcome to Lençóis Maranhenses , a horizon of rolling, blindingly white sand dunes rising into the sun and descending into otherworldly green and blue lagoons filled with rainwater.

Forget your cell signal or trappings of comfort: There are few if any structures, people or even trees around, and the park’s location near the Equator means it’s blazingly hot during the day. Yet almost all Brazilians will tell you they want to visit this remote area to experience the sensation of playing in a lunar water park.

Logroll down the dunes, splashing into the natural pools. Traverse the area on horseback, stopping at “oases” along the way. Or be mesmerized by its immensity via helicopter tour. It’s the antidote to that claustrophobic Covid-era feeling — a vast, borderless moonscape where you can roam wild and free.

— Shannon Sims

Bhutan  Copied to clipboard!

Cliff-top fortresses and rhododendron forests on a revived trekking trail read more.

Marcus Westberg

Buddhist monks in scarlet-red robes descend the stone staircase of a temple high in the mountains on the side of a cliff. The sides of the staircase are painted white and decorated ornately with gold, and the temple is surrounded by trees, with a series of mountain ranges rising in the background, the furthest one snowcapped.

After two and a half years of pandemic isolation, Bhutan reopened in September with changes to its longstanding “high value, low volume” tourism policy. Visitors are no longer required to travel on package tours, but Bhutan’s mandatory “sustainable development fee” increased to $200 from $65 per day.

At the same time, the 250-mile Trans Bhutan Trail, a path used for centuries as a pilgrimage and communications route, reopened after a three-year restoration that mended suspension bridges, stone stairs and long-overgrown temples. The trail stretches east to west across nearly the entire country, passing through cities, villages, farmlands and wilderness. Depending on the route and time of year, trekkers might spy the snowcapped Himalayas, visit cliff-top fortresses, scale sacred mountain passes or pass through blooming rhododendron forests.

Official guides are required, and itineraries range from half a day to more than a month. Accommodations include guesthouses, home stays, luxury hotels and well-appointed campsites on each of the trail’s 28 sections. Proceeds from trips booked with Trans Bhutan Trail , the nonprofit that led the restoration, go toward trail maintenance, educational programs, guide training and other community causes.

— Sara Clemence

Kerala  Copied to clipboard!

Learn to climb a palm tree, visit a temple during an annual festival and get a sustainable taste of village life read more.

Poras Chaudhary for The New York Times

Kerala, India

We travel to immerse ourselves in other cultures, but some forms of community tourism put residents on display without offering benefits. Not so in Kerala — a southern Indian state celebrated for its beaches, backwater lagoons, cuisine and rich cultural traditions like the Vaikathashtami festival — where the government has adopted an award-winning approach that allows visitors to experience village life while supporting the communities that host them.

In Kumarakom, one of several “ responsible tourism destinations ” in the state, visitors can paddle through jungly canals, weave rope from coconut fiber and even learn to climb a palm tree. In Maravanthuruthu, visitors can follow a storytelling trail and enjoy village street art before taking in an evening performance of a traditional temple dance.

— Paige McClanahan

Greenville  Copied to clipboard!

South Carolina

Adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and on dinner plates downtown Read more

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

An overhead view shows a variety of dishes from a Georgian restaurant, including khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread with an egg at its center.

Greenville, South Carolina

Set in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville has established itself on the culinary scene. The quaint city of about 70,000 has more than 200 restaurants — 85 percent of which are local, without a tie to a national chain — in its strollable downtown area alone. Visitors may come for the access to outdoor adventures, but they’ll most likely leave having been introduced to flavors from around the world.

Even as the renowned Soby’s celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022 and two food festivals — euphoria and Fall for Greenville — attract tens of thousands of people annually, restaurants continue to crop up around the city. The second location of Charleston’s acclaimed Lewis Barbecue opened to long lines in September. Mr. Crisp , with Greg McPhee as executive chef, highlights seafood, especially its crisp-yet-tender hand-battered fish and chips. Keipi celebrates Georgian khachapuri and the country’s ancient wines; Aryana delivers a taste of Afghanistan; and Califas has brought Mexican birria tacos to Greenville.

“The real heartbeat of Greenville is a creative and diverse food community that keeps reinventing itself,” said Sid Evans, the editor in chief of Southern Living. “The food here is adventurous, and the chefs have embraced the global influences shaping the modern South.”

— Ari Bendersky

Tucson  Copied to clipboard!

A rebounding center of art and adobe with centuries-old ties to mexico read more.

John Burcham for The New York Times

Tucson, Arizona

Barrio Viejo, an area of more than 150 acres in Tucson, is the largest barrio in the United States and exemplifies Tucson’s connection to Mexico, with centuries-old Sonoran adobe architecture.

This year, the neighborhood, which has one of the most diverse racial, cultural, religious and ethnic populations in the country, will receive National Historic Landmark designation . Revival projects include the restoration of the 300-seat Teatro Carmen , built in 1915 and later converted into the Black Elks Club , and female-owned boutique hotels, like the Citizen in the former home of the Tucson Citizen newspaper and the Downtown Clifton in a once-faded motel.

Take the Tucson Origins Tour by Borderlandia , which specializes in tours of the U.S.-Mexico border area, for a deep dive into history. Then explore the famed Etherton Gallery and Andrew Smith Gallery , both in new spaces. Don’t forget Barrio restaurants like the local coffee drinkers’ favorite EXO Roast , housed in an 1885 adobe home, and the Coronet , which moved to the neighborhood in 2019.

— Daniel Scheffler

Martinique  Copied to clipboard!

Creole culture, giant ferns and hummingbirds that don’t back down from a staring contest read more.

A small hummingbird with green iridescent feathers and plumage on the top of their body flies and feeds from a flowering plant. The pink blooms its flying in front of are long and chandelier-shaped, hanging off a light-green branch.

Martinique,

While travel was frozen in 2020, Martinique celebrated the induction of its traditional yole sailboat — a lightweight craft kept upright by crew members, who use their body weight as ballast by sitting on poles that extend over the sides of the hulls — on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. In the fall of 2021, the entire island was named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve , recognizing the destination’s commitment to sustainable economic and social development.

Islanders are awaiting yet another decision from UNESCO, which they hope will name the nearly 4,600-foot volcano Mount Pelée and the Pitons du Carbet range to the World Heritage List. The region represents “the diversity of Martinique,” said Alex Dobat, who owns Natiyabel , a scuba diving and hiking outfitter (whose name means “nature is beautiful” in Creole), who described ferns the size of trees, wild begonias and hummingbirds “staring at you quietly.”

Tourism officials are counting on the UNESCO certifications to attract ecotourists to its peaks, rainforests, reefs and Creole culture.

— Elaine Glusac

The Namib Desert  Copied to clipboard!

Southern Africa

1,000-foot dunes and crashing waves along a nearly uninhabited coastline Read more

A large desert expanse with deep red sands gives way to a gently rising sand hill then a rocky mountain range in the background. Tufts of dry grass poke through the sand in the foreground.

The Namib Desert, Southern Africa

Along the desolate coast of Namibia, 1,000-foot-tall sand dunes descend into the sea. During low tide, intrepid adventurers can drive along the beach, past towering yellow dunes on one side and the South Atlantic’s churning waters on the other. This is the Namib, the world’s oldest desert, and the perfect place for a long road trip . After almost three years of Covid-19 restrictions, it’s hard to imagine a place where you can feel more free.

“Namib” means “vast place” in Khoekhoegowab, a language spoken in many parts of Namibia. It’s astonishingly easy to get lost in this almost entirely uninhabited expanse of sand, where you might travel for days without seeing another human being.

In the Namib-Naukluft National Park, travelers can go back in time at the Deadvlei, where 600-year-old trees stand eerily lifeless, preserved by the dry air; challenge themselves to climb the 100-story Big Daddy Dune; observe desert-adapted wildlife like oryx and springbok; and even see mysterious fairy circles .

— Jen Guyton

The Alaska Railroad  Copied to clipboard!

470 miles of mountains, glaciers and grizzlies from the comfort of a glass dome read more.

Christopher Miller for The New York Times

The Alaska Railroad,

Since 1923, the Alaska Railroad — the last railroad in the United States to carry both people and freight — has connected millions of passengers and trade goods over 470 miles of track, from Seward to Fairbanks. This year is the centennial of its operation and a celebration is planned in Nenana, where President Warren G. Harding drove in the golden spike on July 15, 1923, completing the railroad.

Operational well before Alaska became a state, in 1959, the railroad is an environmentally friendly way for passengers to see wilderness, and even the aurora borealis, without sacrificing comfort: Glass-domed rail cars make viewing easy. It is also the only remaining flag-stop major railroad in the country. Passengers can wave a flag to embark or disembark, gaining access to more remote locations, including harder-to-reach areas of the Chugach National Forest, through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Sights along the way include Denali, North America’s tallest peak, and Kenai Fjords National Park. History buffs can view a special exhibit at the Anchorage Museum that runs from May to February 2024, chronicling the railroad’s history.

— Charu Suri

Fukuoka  Copied to clipboard!

Savoring an endangered street-food tradition on the often overlooked island of kyushu read more.

Diners are sitting outside around the counter of an open-air food stall. Smoke is emanating from the open kitchen, and the diners are chatting and huddled over plates of food. Red lanterns attached to the stall are glowing brightly, along with the illuminated signs on top of each stall.

Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka, a subtropical city perched on the northern shore of Kyushu, is one of the few remaining places in Japan where you will see rows of yatai — open-air street-food stalls resembling boxes of neon light. Many sell traditional foods like ramen, yakitori and oden, but if you stroll along the riverfront on Nakasu, a small island that is Fukuoka’s red-light district, you’ll find some diversity with wine, coffee, and even French sausages and garlic toast.

Yatai were a common sight across Japan in the 1950s, but during the 1964 Summer Olympics, the authorities had them removed to project an image of economic recovery. In the present, Fukuoka is the only city left that’s fighting this bureaucracy. The government has acknowledged the cultural significance of yatai by increasing the safety and quality of the food and by offering more licenses in 2022. Even so, the number of yatai has fallen drastically to around 100 stalls today from more than 400 in the ’60s. Pull up a seat while you can and enjoy rubbing shoulders with strangers over supper again.

— Harvard Wang

Flores  Copied to clipboard!

An island paradise where crater lakes change color and nine-foot dragons roam read more.

Lauryn Ishak for The New York Times

Five boats, two passenger motorboats and three wooden fishing boats with covers, are gathered around a pier. They are surrounded by turquoise blue water, with a few people in swimwear waiting on the pier. The sky is bright blue with fluffy white clouds in the distance.

Flores, Indonesia

The term “fairy-tale getaway” is overused, but what else do you call a far-off, unspoiled, Southeast Asian island with nine-foot Komodo dragons, active volcanoes, white-sand beaches, coral gardens, rushing waterfalls and color-shifting crater lakes reputed to house departed spirits?

Such are the allures of Flores, one of the roughly 17,500 islands of the Republic of Indonesia. An hour’s flight from Bali and far less visited, Flores may be seeing more visitors with the scheduled opening late this year of Kodi Bajo , a luxury resort in the fishing town of Labuan Bajo. Operated by the group behind the NIHI hotel on Sumba, a nearby Indonesian island, Kodi Bajo will offer sumptuous hillside accommodations and views of the nearby Komodo National Park archipelago — the only place in the world inhabited by the famous giant lizards.

— Seth Sherwood

Guadalajara  Copied to clipboard!

Celebrating queer culture’s diversity and l.g.b.t.q. athletes from around the globe read more.

Adrian Wilson for The New York Times

Two bartenders stand within an enclosed bar, surrounded by the glow of a yellow-orange light. Nearest to the camera, one of them measures out alcohol in a metallic jigger. Shelves of alcohol line the walls.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Travel has always been a way to experience diversity, and in 2023 you’ll find a variety of sexual expression and shifts in traditional gender roles in Jalisco’s capital. This fall, the city will co-host (with Hong Kong) the 11th annual Gay Games . Athletes from around the world — of varying ages, sexual orientations and levels of athletic experience — will participate in 20 sports.

The city is also home to the annual Prohibido festival , during which an abandoned theater is transformed into a celebration of sexual diversity through art installations, interactive experiences, live music and talks about polyamorous and nonbinary culture. In Guadalajara, too, women take on nontraditional performance roles. On most nights, you can hear one of almost a dozen female mariachi bands from the area at Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara or El Patio, a restaurant. There are also local performances by female cowboys, known as escaramuzas, who present their choreography on horseback.

The city is considered by some to be Mexico’s drag capital, with numerous performers and shows. Guadalajara has also developed “antiturista” maps, including one for L.G.B.T.Q. travelers, that provide a local’s perspective on places to see and stay.

— Maggie Jones

Tassili n’Ajjer  Copied to clipboard!

Rock art, sandstone pillars and a glimpse at a lost saharan history read more.

Bright red-orange sand dunes stretch across a vast landscape that is interspersed with slightly darker-brown rock formations. The rocks are jagged and irregularly shaped.

Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria

Often overshadowed by its neighbor, the tourism giant Morocco, Algeria — a stone’s throw from Mediterranean Europe and a mere three-hour flight from London — has recently relaxed its visa policies, allowing for much easier exploration of the country. While most visitors tend to stick to the coastal north, which contains some of the region’s best preserved Roman ruins, Africa’s largest country also contains its largest national park.

Virtually unknown to the outside world, Tassili n’Ajjer is eight times the size of Yellowstone. At the heart of the vast landscape of Saharan sand and stone lie the deep red dunes and pillars of Tadrart Rouge. Accessible only by a four-wheel-drive vehicle, this astonishingly striking national park is home to thousands of ancient works of rock art, stretching back to when the desert was a thriving savanna, as well as to a very much living nomadic Tuareg culture.

— Marcus Westberg

Kakheti  Copied to clipboard!

New flavors and ancient winemaking traditions in tiny hilltop towns and green valleys read more.

Irma Laghadze

A big steel bowl filled with a large amount of hand-twisted dumplings (more than 50) is being held by two pairs of hands over an open fire, as steam rises around it.

Kakheti, Georgia

The mountainous nation of Georgia’s 8,000-year-old winemaking tradition is at the center of several new trends in the wine world, including skin-contact (a.k.a. orange ) wines, amphora fermentation and charismatic grape varieties like saperavi. As a result, Georgian wine exports to the United States recently topped one million bottles and are growing at almost 29 percent annually, as Wine Enthusiast recently reported .

For wine lovers, a tasting trip to estates like Vazisubani and Kardanakhi in Kakheti offers a chance to discover new wines in a landscape of tiny hilltop towns and verdant valleys framed by the Caucasus. Many wines are made in traditional pointed qvevri clay vessels that are buried in the earth.

To complement the experience, local chefs have started offering cooking classes where gastronomes can learn how to make the meaty dumplings known as khinkali and other dishes from what Saveur magazine called “Europe’s great unsung cuisine.”

— Evan Rail

Nîmes  Copied to clipboard!

A sunny mediterranean morsel whose charming streets are studded with roman monuments read more.

Joann Pai for The New York Times

Nîmes, France

Nîmes is that rarest of Gallic delicacies — a sunny southern French city with great charm and fascinating architecture and museums that hasn’t yet become thronged with tourists like Arles or Avignon.

The city has a growing word-of-mouth reputation for the excellence of its dining options, which include everything from Michelin two-star restaurants like the chef Pierre Gagnaire’s Duende at the recently renovated Hotel Imperator to exceptionally good lunchtime dining in Les Halles de Nîmes, a covered food market, where the Halles Auberge and La Pie Qui Couette offer first-come first-serve counter service at noon. The latest local buzz is about the chef Georgiana Viou, originally from Benin, who serves up her personal and very delicate Afro-Provençal cooking at Rouge , the restaurant of the elegant new 10-room Margaret-Hôtel Chouleur in a landmarked mansion in the heart of the Écusson, or Old City. Le Coin and Menna, two excellent cosmopolitan modern French bistros — a type of restaurant that’s new to Nîmes — are not far away.

Shed some calories after a meal by taking in the sights of the Rome of France, a sobriquet explained by the most spectacular collection of Roman monuments in Europe outside of Italy.

— Alexander Lobrano

Ha Giang  Copied to clipboard!

A two-wheeled thrill ride leads to mountainside settlements where hmong and tay culture lives read more.

An elderly Vietnamese woman with glasses and a head-scarf sits outside at a small wooden table, hand-painting a fabric made of hemp that she is unrolling. She is wearing a purple and yellow print shirt, and there is a wooden wall behind her.

Ha Giang, Vietnam

The several-day loop by motorbike through the Ha Giang highlands in northern Vietnam is not for the timid. Getting to the city of Ha Giang takes six hours by road from Hanoi, and the loop’s steep roads, serpentine passes and recurring switchbacks can make the journey both treacherous and exhilarating.

This remote tableau of soaring peaks and cavernous valleys inspires a deep connection to the landscape and its inhabitants. Veer off the main road onto the narrow ribbons of concrete streaking the mountainsides and into the Hmong and Tay settlements dotting the hillsides and hollows. To learn more about their cultures, you can hire a guide from QT Motorbikes and Tours .

Road improvement projects and new high-end accommodations have made the loop more accessible and inviting. Don’t miss a boat ride through the canyon on the emerald river at Ma Pi Leng Pass.

— Patrick Scott

Salalah  Copied to clipboard!

A historic frankincense-trading center where the desert erupts in waterfalls read more.

Traversing a gently flowing river, a desert oasis, a line of five camels are following each other in procession, walking in the water up to their shoulders, single file. Trees in varying shades of green line the riverbank, and there is a mountain range in the background.

Salalah, Oman

With last year’s World Cup drawing attention to the built environment elsewhere in the Persian Gulf states, seaside Salalah, Oman, offers visitors a chance to see the region’s natural beauty. Depending on when you go, the area is either lush and green and blanketed in thick fog, or basking in sunlight and a warm breeze.

During the khareef (monsoon), the valleys and riverbeds are flooded with fresh water, and the mountains flow with waterfalls. The city is also home to Al Baleed Archaeological Park and the Museum of the Frankincense Land , which provides a visual history of the ancient incense trade and the associated export routes to the rest of the world. (A nearby collection of sites, known as the Land of Frankincense , is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.) Another draw is the collection of historical ports spread along the coast.

The population of Salalah, one of Oman’s largest cities, is around 330,000, so it’s easy to find oneself alone in the crystal clear waters of the area’s many tranquil beaches, including Mugsail, Fazayah and Haffa.

— Noa Avishag Schnall

Cuba  Copied to clipboard!

An island of music and white-sand beaches ripe for rediscovery as the united states eases travel restrictions read more.

Robert Rausch for The New York Times

A deserted beach is seen at sunrise, with the waves gently lapping the shoreline and the wet sand glistening and reflective. There are piles of rocks and palm trees further back on the shore, leading up to a grassy mound and the sun rising on the right in the distance.

With its sea-sprayed, pastel facades, white-sand beaches and tobacco-rich valleys, Cuba sits tantalizingly close to the United States, though it often feels out of reach — especially in recent years, when the Trump administration reinstated strict rules for American citizens hoping to visit.

But a confluence of factors just made travel to the island nation a bit easier. Last spring, President Biden relaxed many of the restrictions imposed by his predecessor. And in November, American Airlines resumed flights beyond Havana, adding departures to the beach town Varadero and the interior city Santa Clara, a regional capital steeped in revolutionary history. More flights from other carriers are set to begin in the coming months.

Cuba’s people are as generous with their stories — of history, family, even politics and protest — as they are with their music, an omnipresent, joyful soundtrack thrumming through the island’s cities and towns. Less than two years after historic protests were met with harsh repression, and as the country rebuilds from Hurricane Ian, travel to Cuba and support of its people may never be more valuable.

— Lauren Prestileo

Odense  Copied to clipboard!

A mystical new museum and garden with all you need to write your own fairy tale read more.

Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

A solitary woman wearing headphones is seen standing in front of a museum exhibit. She is looking at a light display and surrounded by other luminous installations. She is wearing headphones and plaid pants.

Odense, Denmark

Designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma & Associates, the new Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, on the island of Funen, is more than a museum. It’s a mystical land, featuring labyrinthine gardens that double as a public park.

The museum explores Andersen’s literary interplay between real and imaginary: You can gaze up at the sky through a glass dome and feel like the Little Mermaid; roam sunken courtyards, illuminated by sunlight splintering through trees; and engage with exhibits by contemporary artists in cylindrical spaces wrapped in latticed timber that suggest the city’s traditional thatched-roof houses. The museum is as much about telling stories as it is about imagining your own: Creativity is encouraged at the magical Ville Vau children’s center, where children can paint, draw, write and play dress-up amid colorful scenes from Andersen’s fairy tales.

Time your visit with Odense’s summertime H.C. Andersen Festivals , and then find artistic inspiration, as Andersen did, by venturing across his home island of Funen, the “garden of Denmark,” with its storybook castles (the moated Egeskov is the stuff of dreams), heather-coated hillsides and misty coastline.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park  Copied to clipboard!

The shape-shifting sandstone heart of a continent and its indigenous heritage read more.

Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

Uluru, the sandstone monolith, is seen off in the distance at sunset, glowing a terracotta red, with the mellow-toned blue and pink sky behind it. Tufts of grass and shrubs rise from the earth in the foreground.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia

At Uluru, time stretches, dissolves. Over 500 million years old, the 1,142-foot sandstone monolith in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a shape-shifter: aflame in pink, orange and violet through the day; its crevices gush with the rain, its surroundings erupt with wildflowers.

Now, Uluru is a symbol of urgency. In 2017, it was the site of the Uluru Statement From the Heart , which calls for an Indigenous “voice to Parliament” to be enshrined in Australia’s Constitution. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced there would be a national referendum on the issue in 2023.

Uluru is sacred to the Anangu people, who protect and manage the land, and for decades tourists climbed the rock against their wishes. Climbing was banned in 2019, and now visitors can take a 5.8-mile walk around Uluru’s base to experience its splendor. The ban was a rare victory for Indigenous rights and cultural respect, and evidence that even deep-rooted attitudes can change.

— Tacey Rychter

Boquete  Copied to clipboard!

A slope-side nirvana for coffee geeks, waterfall hikers and white-water rafters read more.

Paul Castillero

Shining through a peek-hole in the lush growth of a forest is the orange glow of the rising sun, with clouds and a mountain range around it.

Boquete, Panama

Geisha, among the world’s most expensive coffee varietals, thrives on the slopes of the Barú Volcano, near Panama’s western border. In recent years, specialty coffee geeks the world over have gravitated here, encouraging coffee farms around the highland town of Boquete to act more like Bordeaux vineyards. New cupping rooms and bodega tours have been added at farms like Lamastus Family Estates , Chevas Coffee Estate and Finca Altieri , while coffee-themed hotels — including Finca Lérida and Panamonte — have updated their facilities.

In Boquete’s town center, which acts as a base for adventure activities like waterfall hikes and white-water rafting, the noted Panama City chef Mario Castrellón has opened a branch of the coffee roaster Café Unido , as well as a restaurant and bar with seasonal menus and Geisha-infused cocktails, in the new Selina hostel . The bold, 60-room property straddles a small river, with rooms ranging from beds in concrete cylinders to luxe suites.

— Nicholas Gill

Tarragona  Copied to clipboard!

An unsung artsy seaport rich in well-preserved roman ruins, and delicious tapas read more.

A old, stone cathedral, seen in the distance through a maze of residential buildings with clay-tiled roofs, is illuminated with yellowed lights. The sky shows a rich palette of colors ranging from blue and purple to orange and gold.

Tarragona, Spain

Long upstaged by the flash of Barcelona, this unsung waterfront city on the Costa Daurada is a culturally rich alternative, with thriving Catalan traditions, from the famous castells (human towers, formed by people standing on one another’s shoulders) to earthy Romesco sauce, often served with grilled fish and vegetables, and best enjoyed in El Serrallo, a maritime neighborhood.

But what elevates the Tarragona experience is the past: This is one of the oldest Roman settlements in the Iberian Peninsula. The impressively preserved Tarraco ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, transform the city into an open-air museum, from the mighty Roman walls to the amphitheater framed by the Mediterranean.

Against this ancient backdrop, the city is in the midst of change: a revitalized port, new low-cost fast trains to the region and a growing contemporary arts scene. Perhaps the best way to savor it is to partake in a paseo: Stroll the Rambla Nova, grazing on tapas along the way, to the aptly named Balcó del Mediterrani observation point, where touching the iron railing is said to bring good luck.

Charleston  Copied to clipboard!

A powerful space will examine a city’s past and honor the african american legacy read more, charleston, south carolina.

Charleston’s brutal history of slavery can be overshadowed by a romanticized portrait of a city with charm, award-winning restaurants and plantation gardens. The planned opening of the $100 million International African American Museum this year will help comprehensively display the city’s complicated past.

The I.A.A.M. occupies the former Gadsden’s Wharf, where an estimated 30,000 African captives landed during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, more than at any other site. The sleek, single-story building floats atop 18 pillars clad in tabby, a kind of concrete made from oyster shells, and houses a genealogy center, a social justice action lab and 10 exhibit galleries that include stories of slavery and the Great Migration. A public outdoor space offers an African Ancestors Memorial Garden featuring indigenous plants like Lowcountry sweet grass and Canary Island palm trees.

This spring, the Charleston tourism board will debut a comprehensive guide to Black-owned businesses to elevate the overlooked successes of creative locals.

— Lauren Matison

Cayos Cochinos  Copied to clipboard!

Planting coral and counting sea turtles where there are no cars or roads read more.

Looking through a gap in the dense forest with a tree bough framing overhead, there is a view of a wooden beach cabana on stilts, siting over the turquoise water of a lagoon.

Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

Off the northern coast of Honduras, the Cayos Cochinos archipelago, part of a marine preserve where commercial fishing is banned, encompasses about 300,000 acres, two main islands and 13 small cays, with a collective population of about 200 Indigenous Garifuna residents.

Before the pandemic, the nonprofit Cayos Cochinos Foundation, which manages the reserve, derived much of its funding to study and protect its biodiversity from the fees paid by day-trippers to snorkel there. Now, the nongovernmental organization is gently opening itself to tourism, allowing visitors to stay in basic cabins (from $45 a night) that previously hosted exclusively scientists.

Between scuba dives and hikes to see pink boa constrictors and black-chested spiny-tailed iguanas, travelers can volunteer to propagate new coral or count sea turtles. Travel to the islands, which are roadless and free of cars, also supports the Garifuna community, which offers guide services, restaurants and tastings of the local root-infused spirit, guifiti.

Burgundy Beer Trail  Copied to clipboard!

Paying homage to hops and yeast in a region where wine has long reigned read more.

A man with dark hair and a beard and wearing a zip-up puffer vest is standing surrounded by huge wooden beer barrels in the cellar of brewery. He is pouring beer from a long-neck bottle into a large stemmed goblet, and there is an ancient stone wall behind him.

Burgundy Beer Trail, France

Wine lovers have long revered the great vintages of Burgundy. Now, beer lovers have their eyes on the Burgundy region, following the arrival of head-turning new breweries like Ammonite , Vif , Independent House and 90 BPM , all within 90 minutes of one another, and all rated among the best in France by fans on sites like Untappd and RateBeer .

Winemaking influences these new brewers, some of which employ solera barrel systems (like those used to age and blend sherry and Madeira wines), natural yeast, small oak barrels and other tools and techniques most often used by vintners.

For years, France has been a laggard in the global craft beer revolution, running far behind neighboring countries like Spain and Italy. The emerging beer trail in Burgundy’s wine region shows how France might soon develop an enviable beer culture of its own.

Istanbul  Copied to clipboard!

Reviving a city’s historic architecture just in time for modern turkey’s centennial read more.

Maria Mavropoulou for The New York Times

A modern-looking, three-level museum building of steel and glass is seen from the front, leading out to a forecourt of polished stone. There are people walking past the facade, and there is a sign in big capital lettering on the front that reads, “Istanbul Modern”

This October, the Turkish Republic celebrates its 100th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, Istanbul’s local government has invested millions in giving historic structures new life.

Among them: Feshane, a factory that manufactured the iconic Turkish hats and one of Istanbul’s first steel buildings, will become one of its largest art centers; west of the old city, a comprehensive restoration of the stone-and-brick Mevlanakapi city walls with their 22 towers dating back to the fifth century, will transform them into a four-and-a-half-mile walking path; and the Botter Apartment, one of Istanbul’s earliest Art Nouveau buildings, whose bottom floor was originally a studio for the sultan’s private tailor, will be turned into a fashion design center.

There’s more. Art museums are planned for the former Yedikule gasworks and the Halic Shipyard, one of the world’s oldest still in operation. And most notably, the newly built Istanbul Modern museum, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, will open its doors along the Bosporus in Karakoy, showcasing the works of notable Turkish artists such as Fahrelnissa Zeid and Erol Akyavas.

— Nora Walsh

Taipei  Copied to clipboard!

Floating sky lanterns and soaring skyscrapers in a sprawling, thrumming capital read more.

A bustling night market in Taipei has shoppers roaming up and down a long strip, lined on either side with stall fronts. There is backlit lettering on signage over many of the stalls, and illuminated yellow lanterns hang overhead. The night sky is black.

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is a glorious assault on the senses, a capital with stunning natural beauty, low crime, and clear air despite its immense urban sprawl. From its neon-lit night markets to its Qing Dynasty temples, visitors can feel the quiet drum of independent pride, however fragile its future.

Beijing, which sees self-ruled Taiwan as an unruly child, continues to assert its desire to reunify with Taiwan and put the island firmly back under its control. But for now, a visit to this city offers a riot of culinary and cultural pleasures. In 2023, the island’s third-tallest skyscraper will open, and the Taiwan Lantern Festival , a beloved tradition in which thousands of glowing lanterns float skyward in tandem, will return to Taipei after more than two decades.

Taipei’s future is uncertain. But in 2023, it remains an ideal place to gape at the sheer power of human innovation.

— Debra Kamin

El Poblado  Copied to clipboard!

Medellín, Colombia

A chic shopping district, pulsing nightlife and rainbow-colored macaws Read more

Federico Rios for The New York Times

A bartender, wearing an apron and standing in front of a large mirrored array of alcoholic beverages, slides an orange and green drink toward the viewer.

El Poblado, Medellín, Colombia

In the 1600s, Spanish settlers established El Poblado, “the village,” along the Medellín River. Eventually, the larger city of Medellín grew to the north, and El Poblado became a rural getaway for wealthy Colombians.

Today, it is once again a center of activity. The grid of two- or three-story homes has blossomed with shops and restaurants, interspersed with boutique hotels rising above the treetops. Nearby, gushing waterfalls and rainbow-colored macaws add to the lush tropical vibe.

An afternoon roaming the neighborhood, popping into Mon y Velarde for menswear or Makeno for artisanal home goods, followed by coffee at Pergamino or modern Colombian cuisine at Oci.Mde , is a worthy entry on any South American traveler’s bucket list. Stay out late enough to see the area transform into the pulsing heart of the city’s nightlife, with D.J.s on the rooftops and dance parties in the streets.

Lausanne  Copied to clipboard!

Switzerland

Spectacular views of Lake Geneva and an exploding architectural and artistic scene Read more

Clara Tuma for The New York Times

Looking down onto a cityscape from above, cars are driving down a bustling retail main street and apartment buildings are above the shops. A church steeple is seen in the distance.

Lausanne, Switzerland

Already blessed with a sublime Lake Geneva location and dramatic mountain views, Lausanne, Switzerland’s fourth-largest city, has been adding architectural and artistic beauty to its repertoire as well.

Known as Plateform 10 , the city’s three-year-old arts district recently inaugurated a bold new building that resembles an artfully cracked block of white stone for a pair of museums. Photo Elysée is dedicated to exhibiting photography in all its forms, while MUDAC is a haven of five creative outlets: design, glasswork, ceramics, jewelry and graphic art. The two institutions join the new home of the city’s international art museum, the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts , which moved into its ridged, rectangular building in 2019.

Methana  Copied to clipboard!

A hike, a stroll or a run into the bronze age followed by a soak in an ancient tub read more.

Two runners, a man and a woman, are seen from behind as they are running along a rocky mountain trail, at the very edge of the cliff. They are dressed in black and gray and the blue sea and a mountain are seen in the distance.

Methana, Greece

Athens’s nearest active volcano, Methana, sits on a peninsula of the same name some 30 miles southwest of the Greek capital. Though largely unknown to tourists, the area is slowly evolving, in part because of its increasing popularity as a hiking destination.

In recent years, groups of locals have managed to reopen and map old walking paths, some of which date back to the Mycenaean Era, creating hiking trails that attract visitors from around the world. (So far, more than 18 miles have been cleared and marked.) The Methana Volcano Challenge , first organized in 2021, offers a trail run across the peninsula’s sloping landscape.

Visitors to this volcanic peninsula can also enjoy several hot springs, the most interesting of which is an ancient (and recently renovated) tub known as the Pausanias Baths near the village of Agios Nikolaos.

— Demetrios Ioannou

Louisville  Copied to clipboard!

A rising l.g.b.t.q. scene with quilts, drag shows, the derby and, of course, bourbon read more, louisville, kentucky.

One of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains, and arguably among the most beautiful, Louisville somehow flies under the radar. This despite its graceful 19th-century park system , designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and its bourbon-fueled convivial spirit.

Today, its L.G.B.T.Q. scene is also thriving, with hot spots like Chill Bar and Play Dance Bar , which hosts regular drag nights featuring touring artists. (The city has also earned top marks from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for seven years running and is home to two new L.G.B.T.Q. community centers.) This spring brings Hotel Genevieve , from the Texas-based Bunkhouse Group, which offers Louisville-inspired touches like décor that pays homage to the city’s rich quilting heritage, an on-site market selling work from local artists and bourbon selections from neighboring Rabbit Hole Distillery .

Make plans for 2023, because the city might not stay below the radar much longer: 2024 will draw the masses for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby.

— Paul L. Underwood

Manaus  Copied to clipboard!

River-to-table cuisine and ancestral recipes in the heart of the amazon read more.

A fish, cooked whole, sits on a small plate beside a sliced lime. Two additional bowls — filled with colorful food — sit beside the plate, as does a glass filled with a yellow-green drink.

Manaus, Brazil

Michelin-starred restaurants in São Paulo use Amazonian ingredients to appear exotic, but in Manaus, where you can sip steamy gourds of tacacá from a stand in front of the Teatro Amazonas or wander past plastic bottles of tucupi, the juice squeezed from grated cassava, in Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market, Amazonian ingredients are a fact of life.

At the Indigenous-owned Biatüwi , a restaurant that pays homage to ancestral recipes and cooking techniques, drinks are made from fermented purple yams, and chiles are used to purify river fish in piquant stews like quinhampira.

Then there’s the chef Felipe Schaedler, who has helped threatened Yanomami communities commercialize their native mushrooms and runs two restaurants of his own: Banzeiro and Moquém do Banzeiro . Steering away from traditional preparations, Mr. Schaedler reimagines ingredients like lemon-grass-flavored ants and tambaqui ribs in a modern format, as do the bistros Caxiri , set in a colonial building overlooking Largo de São Sebastião, a grand plaza, and Fitz Carraldo, in the boutique hotel Villa Amazonia .

Vilnius  Copied to clipboard!

A 700-year-old survivor ready to party like there’s no tomorrow read more.

Gordon Welters for The New York Times

A man sits above a river, his feet dipping into the water, on a two-seated chair that is suspended about ten feet below a decorative bridge. Atop the bridge, three people look down at the man. Behind them is what appears to be a collection of residential buildings.

Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuania’s cobblestoned capital has a long history of bootstrap survival. Occupied once by the Nazis and twice by the Soviets, Vilnius has a story that is complex and fascinating to explore. Its architectural riches span from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque; grand churches rub shoulders with quaint timber homes on leafy streets.

In 2023, the resilient city celebrates its 700th birthday with a full year of revelry. A light festival , free music performances and the first Vilnius International Biennial are all on the calendar. Artificial intelligence will resurrect one of the city’s first operas from the 17th century, and an exhibition space will allow visitors to virtually explore Vilnius’s streets as they looked more than 200 years ago.

Ringing in its eighth century, Vilnius reminds travelers that, when viewed through the long lens of history, our own uncertain times are fleeting.

Macon  Copied to clipboard!

1,100-year-old native american mounds and deep rock ’n’ roll roots read more.

A pathway leads into a large mound of earth, perhaps around 10 or 15 feet tall at its peak and covered with neatly manicured grass. The mound has a large opening framed with wooden logs.

Macon, Georgia

The area around Macon has been home to multiple Native American tribes for 12,000 years. That history will be acknowledged this year, when Georgia is expected to get its first national park: The Ocmulgee Mounds, some of the most significant prehistoric Indigenous mounds in North America, date to the year 900, and are now a national historical park .

The national park will include the Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge , for a total of 50,000 acres, and offer a network of exquisite hiking trails and artifacts from American Indian culture. Management will be shared by the Muscogee Nation and the National Park Service.

Additionally, the city, whose musical roots run deep — Little Richard, the Allman Brothers and Otis Redding all got their start here — is celebrating its 200th anniversary with a new 10,000-seat amphitheater . Visitors can check out the Hotel Forty Five , a boutique hotel that opened downtown last year and that was named both for the angle of the street on which it sits and as a nod to musical history.

— Ondine Cohane

Madrid  Copied to clipboard!

Kicking off a worldwide tribute to picasso in a place that’s a masterpiece unto itself read more.

Emilio Parra Doiztua for The New York Times

If art is a universal language, as travel often reveals, Pablo Picasso’s antiwar “ Guernica ” may be one of its most potent symbols.

The Spanish and French governments recently announced the Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 in front of the famous painting at the Reina Sofia museum, kicking off a transnational commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death. The worldwide tribute, from Madrid to Paris to New York City, includes some 50 exhibitions, many of which explore the artist through the lens of the present day. Madrid leads the way, with tributes throughout the year, including “Picasso. The Sacred and the Profane” at the Thyssen-Bornemisza ; “Picasso 1906. The Turning Point” at the Reina Sofia ; and an exhibition exploring Picasso and El Greco at the Prado .

During Picasso’s anniversary year, it’s worth noting that the city’s artistry isn’t just within its museums, but outside as well: Madrid’s cultural core is an urban masterpiece of art, nature and light, and in 2021, the entire area of the Paseo del Prado and verdant Parque del Buen Retiro, called “Landscape of Light,” was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Grand Junction  Copied to clipboard!

A bonanza of canyons, arches and cliffs, without the hordes of tourists read more.

Sharp orange-red sandstone cliffs contrast with the deep blue of the sky in the background. The cliffs, dramatically steep at the top, give way to gentler slopes of eroded material below.

Grand Junction, Colorado

On Colorado’s Western Slope, arid Grand Junction offers attractions similar to those of Moab, Utah, the gateway to Arches National Park, without the throngs.

The area around the Colorado alternative has the second-largest concentration of natural arches in the country in Rattlesnake Canyon, where some 35 sandstone spans are part of the roughly 123,700-acre McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area , reachable via off-road vehicle or a strenuous 14-mile round-trip trek. More convenient hiking trails in the Colorado National Monument — where geologic uplift and erosion formed monoliths of the same Entrada sandstone found at Arches — lie within about 10 minutes of town.

The 2021 opening of the Palisade Plunge adds a 32-mile descent — from the world’s largest flat-topped mountain, 10,000-foot Grand Mesa, down to the Colorado River — to the area’s biking challenges. All trails lead back to downtown Grand Junction, filled with shops, craft breweries, locavore restaurants and wine-tasting rooms from area vineyards.

La Guajira  Copied to clipboard!

An unspoiled land of orange-sand beaches and flamingo-lined lagoons read more.

Four figures, silhouetted against a dark orange-blue sky, are standing atop a hillside, with the ocean in view in the distance on the right.

La Guajira, Colombia

The remote and arid La Guajira peninsula, straddling Colombia’s border with Venezuela, remains largely unknown to international tourists — in spite of its dramatic salt flats, flamingo-lined lagoons and orange-sand beaches.

Terrorist activity made this area mostly off limits until 2016, but eco-minded hotels, including La Casa del Pavo Real and Hotel Waya Guajira , have spread along the peninsula, relying on increased flights to Riohacha, the regional capital, and nearby Santa Marta.

This region is the home of the Indigenous Wayúu people, who have expressed concerns that giant development projects may irreparably alter their ancestral lands. Tour operators visit Wayúu weavers known for their chinchorros, the colorful hammocks that take months to make, and their rustic kitchens, where cooks like Zaida Cotes showcase traditional cuisine based on salted fish, goat meat and purple corn.

Bergamo and Brescia  Copied to clipboard!

Open-air theater, art, music and a plateful of local delicacies in a cultural crossroads read more.

Andrea Wyner for The New York Times

An ancient city with pretty red roofs and facades of white and yellow sits in the foreground. In the distance are rolling forested hills and mountains.

Bergamo and Brescia, Italy

Milan may outshine Bergamo and Brescia , but in 2023 a spotlight will fall on these two Lombardy cities after they were jointly named the Italian Capital of Culture . More than 100 art projects, music and theater events (some open-air), nature walks and new bike routes are ​meant to map a way forward after the tragic headlines this northern region generated in 2020, when it was more ravaged by the coronavirus than anyplace else in Italy.

Bergamo is distinctive for its ancient, walled Città Alta (Upper Town) and modern Città Bassa (Lower Town), the two connected by ​narrow roads, a funicular and a footpath. Brescia, around 30 miles southeast , is a handsome crossroads of Roman, medieval and Renaissance sites .

Outstanding food is another draw — it’s Italy, after all — with menus in both areas featuring creamy, nutty polenta taragna and variously stuffed crescents of casoncelli swirled with butter and sage — little pasta miracles that prove how good life can still be.

— Julie Besonen

American Prairie  Copied to clipboard!

A vast, and growing, swath of nature where you can still feel tiny read more.

Janie Osborne

A dark-brown buffalo grazes through a field of light-yellow grasses, forming a striking contrast. In the distance, a row of trees showcases variously colored leaves: green, yellow, orange.

American Prairie, Montana

With its wide-open skies and boundless horizons, American Prairie is ideal for visitors seeking a respite from the fast pace of modern life. A vast nature preserve founded by a Montana nonprofit, A.P. has been accumulating grasslands since 2004. It currently consists of 455,840 acres — and the preserve continues to expand by acquiring private properties that connect to surrounding public lands. The goal: to create a contiguous, three-million-acre reserve and restore a disappearing ecosystem.

A.P. offers a broad range of activities, including leisurely walks, cross-country skiing and expert-level hiking, biking and paddling. Paved roads lead to Antelope Creek Campground, which features an interpretive trail and distant views of the Little Rockies. Buffalo Camp, accessible by gravel roads and situated among the reserve’s largest bison herd, is a little farther off the beaten path and provides a chance to see a buffalo jump, a cliff traditionally used by Indigenous peoples to harvest bison.

— Janie Osborne

Eastern Townships  Copied to clipboard!

A leisurely journey through the countryside with stops for wine, cheese and poutine read more.

An abbey — several stories tall, built from light-colored stone and showcasing a deep-green roof — is dusted with snow and sits among snow-covered trees.

Eastern Townships, Quebec

This is slow travel at its best: Pedal across the quiet Quebec countryside, refueling on local cheese, wine and, yes, poutine. Montreal and Quebec City are the stars of the region, but the bucolic, lake-laced terrain between them is often relegated to fleeting glimpses from the windows of a rental car.

The Eastern Townships — Canada’s New England, with French flair — deserves a visit all its own, and especially now, with the recent debut of the Véloroute Gourmande . The 150-mile cycle route traces the Route Verte and Trans Canada Trail across this charming region dotted with flower-festooned villages, and features more than 100 epicurean stops along the way, from farmers’ markets to maple groves to fromageries to vineyards.

Try the lush, sweet vin de glace (ice wine), made from ripe grapes that have frozen naturally on the vine, at Le Cep d’Argent , and the buttery Brise des Vignerons at the family-run Fromagerie des Cantons , one of the first in the area to develop cheese exclusively from Jersey cows, a nod to the region’s British influences.

New Haven  Copied to clipboard!

Connecticut

A home to tinkerers and rebels, and a treasure trove of contemporary art and architecture Read more

New haven, connecticut.

Connecticut’s third-largest city is a historic, mostly walkable and bikeable seaside town with distinctive neighborhoods, an encyclopedic collection of great American architecture, a thriving cultural life and one of the best food scenes in the country for a city of its size (134,000).

Founded in 1638, it’s a place where people have always tinkered with, mused about and challenged the status quo, which is why the New Haven Preservation Trust is now looking at saving the modernist buildings of the 1970s, which many see as disastrous examples of urban renewal. Discover one of the best of these brutalist concrete buildings by checking into the new Hotel Marcel , named for its architect, Marcel Breuer. Recently renovated, it’s become the first completely solar-powered, energy-neutral hotel in the United States.

Check out NXTHVN , a cutting-edge, community-focused arts center founded in 2019 in two abandoned factory buildings in the Dixwell neighborhood that has become the heart of a vibrant African American artists’ community. And then treat yourself to a great meal — maybe crispy artichokes with Parmesan aioli and pork belly with Tuscan cabbage and apple mostarda — at the recently opened Villa Lulu .

The Black Hills  Copied to clipboard!

South Dakota

Pine forests, powwows and a climb up to Crazy Horse’s giant granite face Read more

Benjamin Rasmussen

On top of a high rocky overlook, with green fields visible far below in the distance, three trees are covered in many dozens of prayer cloths, which have been tied to the trees’ trunks and branches.

The Black Hills, South Dakota

The Lakota people trace their creation to the He Sapa, or Black Hills, a mountain range of dramatic peaks and pine forests in an area that is South Dakota’s chief tourism attraction.

Now, representatives of all nine tribes in the state — working as the South Dakota Native Tourism Alliance — are having a say in how to experience Native American sites with the publication of a new tribal nations’ visitors guide , including destination suggestions and tips on visitor etiquette. The assembly helped identify the Great 8 , eight sites and experiences — among them powwows, or dance celebrations — that are significant to Indigenous culture, with a concentration in the Black Hills. These include Bear Butte State Park where hiking trails may lead past prayer cloths tied to trees, 7,244-foot Black Elk Peak, the state’s highest, and the Crazy Horse Memorial .

The massive sculpture of the Lakota warrior turns 75 next summer, when the biannual Volksmarch will allow hikers to ascend the carving, still under construction, and stand beneath Crazy Horse’s more than 87-foot-tall granite face.

Sarajevo  Copied to clipboard!

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A living museum of resilience where empires and cultures have long intersected Read more

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

A town center is seen from above at night, with the main high street illuminated as it runs between the dark building and surrounding apartments. There are people walking in the street, churches glowing as they rise from the other buildings, and the surrounding mountains in the distance are dotted with lights from many homes.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo’s history lives in the present. There is the Latin Bridge, where a certain archduke was assassinated, catalyzing World War I. There are buildings still pockmarked by shells from the siege three decades ago. And there is the intricate interplay of empires, from the Ottoman to the Austro-Hungarian, that allows visitors to tour a mosque, a cathedral, an Orthodox church and a synagogue all within a few blocks.

These layers of history, of course, can detonate as easily as they can coexist. Bosnia’s multiethnic capital remains on edge. Look up to the hills, and there are the artillery positions built on the grounds of the 1984 Winter Olympics. But Sarajevo’s splendor comes from this intrusion of the past. It remains a living museum that hints at how a Ukraine or a Syria cannot only survive but perhaps one day flourish anew.

— Hannah Beech

world new tourist attractions

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Corrections

A photograph with an earlier version of this article misidentified the city shown in the image. The photograph depicted the province of Tarragona, Spain, not the city itself. The image has been replaced.

The article also misstated the size of the Barrio Viejo neighborhood of Tucson, Ariz. It is more than 150 acres, not 150 blocks.

A photograph with an earlier version of this article misidentified the location in the image. It is Keelung, Taiwan, not Taipei.

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The World’s Greatest Places of 2021

100 extraordinary destinations to explore

world new tourist attractions

Accra, Ghana

A hub for creativity and culture.

An iceberg along the Antarctic Peninsula

A rare sight at the South Pole

People walk on the world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge '516 Arouca', now open for local residents in Arouca, Portugal, April 29, 2021.

Arouca, Portugal

Bridging the gap.

Silversea's new cruise ship Silver Moon.

A cruising renaissance

An exterior view of the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok.

Perpetual motion

Pulteney Bridge crosses the River Avon in Bath, England.

Leaning into literary roots

The Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

Action-packed metropolis

Valley Stream, a remote private residence in Belize.

Striking a delicate balance

Located amongst dunes at the heart of Kisawa Sanctuary, Kisawa's Natural Wellness Center and Gym offers guests individual rituals rooted in the natural elements of Air, Fire, Water, Wind and Earth.

Benguerra Island, Mozambique

Supercharged eco-luxury.

Terminal 1 at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, where artist Pae White's “The Magic Carpet” hangs on the ceiling.

Readying for visitors

A room at the new Montage Big Sky.

Big Sky, Montana

The great wide open.

A sailing yacht off the coast of Bodrum, Turkey.

Bodrum, Turkey

Riviera on the rise.

Ai Weiwei's  Descending Light  (2007), on view at the El Museo Helga de Alvear in Cáceres, Spain.

Cáceres, Spain

A multitude of cultural riches.

A restaurant at The St. Regis Cairo.

New vantages on unique treasures

Jason deCaires Taylor's underwater sculptures at the Underwater Eco-Museum in the Bay of Cannes

Cannes, France

Sea and be seen.

A Manica sugarbush in Chimanimani National Park, Mozambique.

Chimanimani National Park, Mozambique

Doubling down on conservation.

In Christchurch, placemaking social enterprise Gap Filler and developer Fletcher Living partnered to make the #Chchswing (2019), designed by F3: a perfect square format Instagram frame, as well as a place of social and physical activity.

Christchurch, New Zealand

Rebuilding from rubble.

A view of the Coimbra University courtyard, with the Mondego river in the background.

Coimbra, Portugal

Fresh claims to fame.

Nayara Tented Camp in Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica.

Committed to conservation

An interior train view of Rocky Mountaineer's Rockies to the Red Rocks train route, which is a two-day trip through the landscapes between Moab, Utah and Denver.

Rocky Mountain high

One&Only Desaru Coast in Malaysia.

Desaru Coast, Malaysia

A beach escape.

The Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Bringing the world together

The North Ronaldsay Mutton dish served at The Glenturret's Lalique restaurant.

A refined reopening

A view of Kalsoy, an island in the north-east of the Faroe Islands of Denmark

Faroe Islands, Denmark

Worth the journey.

Home of The Arts precinct in Gold Coast, Australia.

Gold Coast, Australia

Surfers’ playground.

One of the iconic trams of Gothenburg in Sweden

Gothenburg, Sweden

Four centuries and counting.

Greenwich Design District, pictured mid-construction in May 2021.

Design District, London

An affordable artistic incubator.

The view overlooking Woburn Bay at The Point at Petite Calivigny.

Luxury on the water

Woljeonggyo Bridge in Gyeongju, South Korea.

Gyeongju, South Korea

Historic gem.

Street food scene in Hanoi.

Renewed life in the Old Quarter

licja Kwade's  Big Be-Hide  (2019), on view at the Helsinki Biennial 2021: The Same Sea, 12 June ? 26 September 2021

Giving old spaces new purpose

The One Bite Pho at chef Peter Cuong Franklin's restaurant, Anan, in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City

Tastes of vietnam.

An onsen-style soaking tub at the Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel.

Hokkaido, Japan

Northern exposure.

Red snapper ceviche at Musaafer in Houston.

Lone Star stunner

Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant in the Hudson Valley region of New York.

Hudson Valley, New York

Brick by brick.

The Garage Food Hall at Bottleworks District in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indianapolis

Bottle service.

A hiker in Volcanos National Park on Hawaii Island

Island of Hawaii

Volcanoes and vistas.

Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory and UNESCO World Heritage site, in Jaipur, India.

Jaipur, India

Astronomical haven.

Jasper National Park in Canada.

Jasper, Alberta

Canada’s cabin capital.

Posada LUZ, a boutique resort in José Ignacio, Uruguay.

José Ignacio, Uruguay

Relaxed getaway.

A wild elephant on the road in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, Nov. 22, 2019. Tourist trails helped push elephants to their deaths in Thailand's oldest nature preserve, but the coronavirus lockdown is allowing them to roam freely again.

Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Leave no trace.

The Kruger Shalati hotel—in which guests can stay in renovated train cars that are perched on a bridge—in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park, South Africa

On the wild side.

Eva Mont—Shutterstock

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Artisanal escape.

On the waterfront in La Paz, Mexico.

La Paz, Mexico

Laid-back vibes at the seaside.

Mongolian men and women pray and make offerings at an Ovoo near the Lake Khovsgol Ice Festival in Khatgal, Mongolia.

Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia

Untold depths.

View of the Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Solar-powered exploration.

Part of the underground tunnel during a tour of the Boring Co. Convention Center Loop in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April 2021.

Excess and innovation

Jade Spring Park in Lijiang

Lijiang, China

A launch point for adventure.

Rooftop tents at The Fuzzy Log in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

A culinary capital.

DaVinci's artwork projected in a room at the Château du Clos Lucé museum.

Loire Valley, France

Chez leonardo.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

Hollywood’s next act.

The Mandarin Oriental Ritz in Madrid.

Safeguarding tradition

Tavaru restaurant and wine cellar at Velaa Private Island in the Maldives.

An ever changing archipelago

A view of the new hotel Oberoi Marrakech

Marrakech, Morocco

A place of beauty.

A view of the lobby at Central Station Hotel in Memphis.

Expanding on a legacy

A vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina.

Mendoza, Argentina

Serving culinary excellence outdoors.

The Four Seasons in Calistoga in Napa Valley, Calif.

Napa Valley, California

Restoring wine country.

A suite at the Six Senses Shaharut in the Negev Desert in Israel.

Negev Desert, Israel

Desert cultivation.

Batture Bistro + Bar at the One11 Hotel in New Orleans.

New Orleans

Big easy does it.

Kayakers under the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, West Virginia

Active nature.

Little Island, which floats over the Hudson River near West 13th Street in Hudson River Park, on the site of an old pier in New York, May 11, 2021. Mega-mogul Barry Diller's $260 million, 2.4-acre pet project and civic mitzvah is the architectural equivalent of a kitchen sink sundae, with a little bit of everything. ()

New York City

Back in business.

Shree Morjai Temple in Morjim, North Goa.

North Goa, India

Dressed up on the coast.

The guided storytelling experience at Manea Footprints of Kupe, a cultural attraction in Northland, New Zealand.

Northland, New Zealand

Legendary experiences.

A view of Nuuk, Greenland

Nuuk, Greenland

Pioneering capital.

The new H.C. Andersen House Museum in Odense, Denmark.

Odense, Denmark

Fairy-tale city.

The Baobab Treehouse at Xigera Lodge in Botswana.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

An oasis in the wetlands.

Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World near Orlando.

The magic continues

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.

Osaka, Japan

Exterior view of the new MUNCH museum in Oslo, which opens to the public October 22, 2021.

Munch to do

The Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection museum in Paris.

The royal treatment

River guides take a group out into the Patagonia National Park in Chile.

Patagonia National Park, Chile

Sustainable investments.

Jaume Plensa's  Nuria,  (2017) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Philadelphia

Artistic growth.

The New World Phu Quoc Resort in Vietnam.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Idyllic paradise.

Part of the Mexican Design Fair at Casa Naila on the coast in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Rising design destination.

The Cotopaxi volcano, which is located outside of Quito.

Quito, Ecuador

Heritage hub.

Aerial view of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Abuzz with openings.

Opuntia Café in Santa Fe, N.M.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Monument to the southwest.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

A rare pilgrimage.

The Floating Music Hub in the bay of Mindelo on the island of São Vicente, Cape Verde.

São Vicente, Cape Verde

Music in the air.

Sunset on Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

The growing gulf coast scene.

The Electric Moon Skytop Lounge + The Moon Deck at the Plant Riverside District in Savannah, Ga.

Savannah, Georgia

Revitalized riverfronts.

Canlis restaurant in Seattle.

Visions of the future

People swim on the Maasin River on Siargao in the Philippines.

Siargao, Philippines

A suite at Verdura Resort

Sicily, Italy

History by the seaside.

Angkor Wat, a common excursion for visitors to nearby Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Wildlife and wonders.

Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore hotel on the grounds of the Laguna National Golf & Country Club.

Superlative city-state

The Fagaras Mountains are a section of the Southern Carpathian Mountains in Romania.

Southern Carpathian Mountains, Romania

Returning to nature.

A pedestrian walkway at City Foundry STL in St. Louis.

A reinvigorated downtown

The Exchange building in Darling Square in Sydney.

Harborside stunners

Exterior of the Taipei Performing Arts Center, designed by David Gianotten and Rem Koolhaas of OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture)

Culture and quiet

Mount Denali and adjacent snow-capped mountains as seen from Talkeetna, Alaska.

Talkeetna, Alaska

Mountain majesties.

Lahemaa National Park in Estonia is connected to the new long-distance Forest Trail, which links Tallinn, Estonia to neighboring Latvia and Lithuania.

Tallinn, Estonia

Cruising and perusing.

The  HARDCORE  room, by the artist magma, at BnA_WALL hotel in Tokyo

Gearing up for the Games

The Sense Experience Resort in Tuscany, Italy.

Tuscany, Italy

Uffizi on tour.

Incahuasi island, Uyuni salt-flat in Bolivia

Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Salt-flat homestays.

The Doge's Palace (left) and the Column of San Marco (right) in Venice.

Venice, Italy

Future-proofing an icon.

Part of the Rosewood Little Dix Bay resort in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Respite and renewal.

The Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan.

Wadi Dana, Jordan

Eyes in the sky.

A gallery at Qaumajuq, the new Inuit art center in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Reveling in art.

The work of Franz Gertsch on view in the permanent collection at Kunsthaus Zu?rich art museum.

Culture you can bank on

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Best of the world: 35 destinations for 2023 and beyond

Watching the sunrise at Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA

From epic landscapes and cultural reawakenings to conservation initiatives and family favourites, National Geographic Traveller ’s Best of the World list is back with 35 destinations that should be on your radar for 2023. Across five categories — adventure, culture, nature, family and community — our list highlights some of the most exciting and exceptional experiences on the planet, with 25 entries selected by the global editors of National Geographic Traveller  and an additional 10 from the UK edition.

Introducing the categories: 

3. Adventure

4. Community

Skyline of Busan, South Korea at dusk

Skyline of Busan, South Korea at dusk

1. Appian Way, Italy The revival of Europe’s ancient ‘superhighway’ is a pilgrimage route through history

If all roads lead to Rome, this ancient highway built 2,300 years ago was the mother of them all. Stretching for 360 miles from the heart of Italy’s capital to the port of Brindisi on the Adriatic, the Via Appia (nicknamed Regina Viarum — the Queen of Roads) was trod by ordinary citizens, marching soldiers, and glitterati from the Latin poet Horace to the gladiator-tussling Emperor Commodus.

Neglected after Rome’s fall but never forgotten, the road is undergoing a renaissance as the Italian government seeks to retrace, uncover and restore the ancient cobblestones, transforming the Appia into a walkable route for modern travellers. The goal is a pilgrimage through history, with stops at scenic villages and archaeological sites as well as planned overnight accommodation at the end of each day’s journey. 2. Busan, South Korea From craft breweries to Asia’s top film festival, South Korea’s second largest city is fuelling a cultural boom

Cinema is a communal experience in Busan, Korea’s second largest city, which has hosted one of Asia’s most prestigious annual film festivals for nearly three decades. In 2022 the Busan International Film Festival held screenings in 14 neighbourhood venues across this seaport of 3.4 million people.

Before performances, movie lovers can grab a craft beer or coffee — Busan is celebrated for its artisan brewers of both beans and hops — or stroll through Citizens Park, a redeveloped US military base (the city played a strategic role in the Korean War). Opened in 2014, the park is a 133-acre retreat in the middle of downtown, planted with more than one million trees and shrubs, comprising 97 species in all. 

3. Longmen Grottoes, Henan Province, China  VR technology is generating renewed interest in one of the largest collections of stone statues in the world at this UNESCO World Heritage site dating from the 4th century

Can ancient artistry from the Tang Dynasty thrive in the 21st-century metaverse? The Longmen Grottoes in China’s Henan Province offer a clue. More than 100,000 figures devoted to the Buddhist religion, primarily sculpted between the fifth and eighth centuries AD, are tucked inside countless caves within limestone cliffs rising above the Yi River. In 2021 Henan TV showrunners used the UNESCO World Heritage site as a backdrop for their acrobatic dance programme Longmen King Kong (the title refers to a Buddhist champion, not a large gorilla). The show’s whizz-bang special effects combined with the spectacular statues became a countrywide sensation.

But the use of high tech at the grottoes isn’t just for entertainment. Archaeologists are using 3D printing to reconstruct damaged statuary, and scientists are applying digital scanning to create a 3D map of the site.

4. Egypt King Tut’s new home at Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum debuts

The debut of King Tut’s magnificent new home on the 100th anniversary of his discovery — and a string of recent archaeological findings — is reigniting global interest in Egypt. Dramatic and modern, Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM)  will be located in Giza at the edge of the Pyramids, “the perfect museum in the perfect setting,” says Fredrik Hiebert, the National Geographic Society’s Archaeologist-in-Residence, who started his career in Egypt and is currently supervising National Geographic ’s virtual, multimedia exhibition Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience.

“It’s like the Egyptians built another pyramid to display all the golden treasures of Tutankhamun, many of which were hidden in the basement of the [old] Cairo Museum,” he says. “It’s going to become a destination museum and will change the way people visit Egypt.”

5. Charleston, South Carolina South Carolina’s largest city addresses a grimmer aspect of its history with the opening of the International African American Museum

A new year shines a light on an old wrong in Charleston. Known for its Low Country cuisine and walkable urbanism, South Carolina’s largest city addresses a grimmer aspect of its history when the International African American Museum opens on 21 January. The building is located on Gadsden’s Wharf and faces Charleston Harbor, where ships brought 100,000 enslaved Africans in chains to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nine galleries tell harrowing tales of the Middle Passage and the horrors of plantation life. But they also uncover stories of the triumph of the enslaved and their enduring cultural contributions, including a section devoted to the Gullah Geechee people who live along the Atlantic coast from the Carolinas to Florida and continue some of the African traditions of their ancestors.

6. Vilnius, Lithuania Lithuania’s capital marks 700 years

The Lithuanian capital will be 700 years old in 2023 and it’s throwing its own year-long party to celebrate. Public events will draw attention to a variety of arts, educational and green initiatives, including an invitation to both visitors and locals to help plant more than 100,000 trees around the city and create an urban forest in its Ozas Park. At the Lithuanian National Museum, a new interactive pavilion depicts the city as it was 200 years ago. Spoiler alert: it looks familiar in many respects, thanks to the many well-preserved gothic and Renaissance buildings found in Vilnius’s Old Town. This historic neighbourhood, with its cobblestoned streets, outdoor cafes and collection of baroque churches, is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval centres in Eastern Europe.

7. Hauts-de-France, France A culinary focus sees the northernmost French region celebrate its heritage and terroir in 2023

Food, glorious food… and drink, too. Haut-de-France is the European Region of Gastronomy for 2023 (a label awarded by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts & Tourism). After feasting on its fresh seafood, craft beers and Flemish recipes, you’ll be in little doubt as to why.

This is France’s northernmost region, bordering Belgium, and it’s a place where ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ were a way of life long before they became menu buzzwords. Think of Maroilles cheese, fresh endives, Chantilly cream, or finger-lickingly gorgeous gaufres (thin, honeycombed waffles traditionally sold outside churches), just for starters.

Today, the heritage and terroir of Hauts-de-France has been taken to new levels by dynamic young chefs and restaurateurs, and culture vultures can work up an appetite exploring the galleries and markets of Lille, or touring a stunning, little-known coastline.

A herd of wild African elephants gather in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

A herd of wild African elephants gather in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. 

8. Scottish Highlands A rewilding movement to restore the original landscape of the Highlands aims to replant and restore native species as part of a countrywide sustainability initiative

The windswept Scottish Highlands are celebrated for their austere beauty, but the sheep-scoured landscapes are in fact the result of human interference. In ancient times, Scotland’s glens and hills were covered by the great Caledonian Forest. But centuries of logging and overgrazing devastated the ecosystem. Now a move to return the Highlands to its original woodlands, by reintroducing former flora and fauna in a process called ‘rewilding’, is gathering steam — with major strides to come in 2023.

The non-profit organisation Trees for Life is opening a centre in Dundreggan to educate the public on the concept of rewilding. Above Inverness, the 23,000-acre Alladale Wilderness Reserve has already planted nearly a million trees, and the Affric Highlands project will start restoring 500,000 acres stretching from Loch Ness to the west coast in a 30-year initiative. 9. Slovenia A longtime leader in sustainable tourism, Slovenia is now developing green gastrotourism biking routes visiting farms, vineyards, cheesemakers and other food producers

Widely recognised for being a leader in sustainable tourism, Slovenia has already cooked up a number of eco-friendly tours under its seven-year-old, countrywide Green Scheme. Now it's added a new item to the menu: the Slovenia Green Gourmet Route. This 11-day, 10-destination food trail is intended specifically for bicyclists.

“Bikers can reach a lot of remote [countryside] to discover that each [cow] pasture will produce a unique cheese,” says Jan Klovara, one of the trail’s developers. The route spans the country, from the capital, Ljubljana, through the Soča Valley, with its Alpine views, to the cave-studded Karst Plateau, and along the Drava and Sava Rivers.

Cyclists use the Slovenian train system to go point to point and their own pedal power to navigate bike-safe rural roads, before sitting down to dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant in cities like Maribor, celebrated for its local and Serbian cuisine. 10. Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA The rugged frontier legend of Texas comes to life in a landscape that’s full of surprises

It’s located in the Lone Star State of legend, yet only 400,000 people visited Big Bend National Park pre-pandemic — nearly 10 times fewer visitors than Yellowstone received, reports Robert Draper, a National Geographic contributing writer. This remote and arid part of west Texas nurtures more cactus species than any other national park, as well as birds such as roadrunners and bright yellow Scott’s orioles, and mammals such as javelina. But encounters with wildlife seem different in the desert. “They remind you that life is at the same time precious and where you least expect to find it,” Draper writes. “Above all, life in the Chihuahuan Desert that comprises Big Bend’s 1,252sq mile expanse is stubborn and easily misunderstood but also impossible to forget.” 11. Azores Award-winning sustainability programmes conserve natural wonders of this volcanic archipelago known for whale-watching and thermal springs

A land born of fire but now engulfed in green, the Azores is working to secure its future. This volcanic island chain in the middle of the Atlantic is an autonomous region of Portugal, located about 1,000 miles off its coast.

With four of its nine islands UNESCO biosphere reserves — and recognised by the World Wildlife Fund as an oasis for 28 whale and dolphin species — the Azores take sustainable tourism seriously. It became the world’s first archipelago to be certified by EarthCheck, an Australia-based international advisory board and green tourism leader that conferred the award in 2019. The Portuguese territory is now focusing on conservation and biodiversity protection, air and water quality, and preservation of Indigenous heritage.

12. Botswana A locally led movement is restoring endangered species, creating wildlife corridors, and developing community-owned tourism projects

The southern African country of Botswana continues to confront a series of threats to its expansive, wildlife-rich national parks and game reserves, ranging from poaching to overtourism. But new anti-poaching efforts, voluntourism and community-based outreach are helping alleviate some of the pressure.

In the Tuli Block, a wilderness on Botswana’s eastern border that holds leopards, brown and spotted hyenas and a large elephant population, rangers are installing advanced technology in the 270sq mile Central Tuli Game Reserve. A Dutch organisation called Smart Parks developed low-power sensors that transmit radio data back to a central station, alerting rangers to poachers and their vehicles or even tracking the movements of animals themselves.

Botswana is also responding to a new generation of visitors. “Since Covid our millennial travellers have become more interested in meaningful human connection,” says National Geographic explorer Koketso ‘Koki’ Mookodi. “Expect to see more craft-based tours and village homestays being planned.”

13. Guyana A new route from British Airways shines a light on one of South America’s smaller nations

Thick Rainforests, sprawling savannahs, magical mountain ranges and epic rivers — Guyana may be one of South America’s smaller nations, but it packs a big punch for nature-lovers, and from March 2023, will be connected by British Airways flights from London Gatwick (via St Lucia).

Go to get truly off-grid. Similar in size to the UK, Guyana is home to fewer than a million people, and river, off-road or air transport are often the only routes into the heart of it all. Natural highlights range from jaguars stalking dense forests to giant anteaters on the savannahs, harpy eagles in the skies and wow-moments like Kaieteur Falls, one of the world’s highest single drop waterfalls (and twice as high as Victoria Falls). The number of eco-tourism experiences and community-run lodges is growing, too. 14. Tanzania Citizen science is playing a part in Tanzania’s new conservation drive

The evolution of sustainable travel is underway in Tanzania. No longer content with staying at environmentally friendly lodges or visiting local community groups, a new generation of travellers is getting hands on with conservation and following scientists into the field thanks to the advent of citizen science travel. 

At the forefront of the trend is Asilia Africa with its pioneering Usangu Expedition Camp, which opened in June 2022 and is set in the lush wetlands of Ruaha National Park. Patrolling the park in safari vehicles powered by molasses, guests play an active role in protecting wildlife by assisting field researchers, planting camera traps and building the park’s photo library of lions, leopards and rare African wild dogs. The citizen science approach has proved so successful that Asilia will replicate the experience at its sister camp, set to open in June 2023, in Nyerere National Park.

Hiking outside Queenstown, New Zealand

Hiking outside Queenstown, New Zealand.

15. New Zealand The country that invented bungee jumping rekindles adventure excitement post-pandemic

The country that brought you bungee jumping is bouncing back from the pandemic. On New Zealand’s South Island, a re-energised Queenstown is again welcoming adventure travellers from all over the world. They come to this lakeside town of some 15,000 for skiing, as well as year-round hiking in the deservedly named Remarkables range. But bicycles should be generating the most excitement. By 2025, the Queenstown Trails Trust aims to complete a network of recreational and commuting bike lanes and paths that will link up workplaces, schools and other urban spaces. The network’s shining star: an 80.7-mile biking route called the Queenstown Trail, one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. Starting on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, the ride pedals east from Queenstown to Gibbston.

16. Choquequirao, Peru An adventurous trek to the remote sister site of Machu Picchu is becoming more accessible

One of the most remote Inca sites in the Peruvian Andes, the ruins of Choquequirao are reserved for the hardy few who put in the effort to reach it. Those who make the trek to the sprawling complex can do so only on foot, zigzagging up and down steep paths for 18 miles to reach its 10,000-foot elevation, suspended between the high Andes and the jungles below.

But change is coming to rock the ‘cradle of gold’, the meaning of Choquequirao in the Quechua language. New infrastructure plans are expected to boost visits to Machu Picchu’s sister city.

Pre-pandemic, Machu Picchu had more than 1.5 million visitors annually, according to Peruvian tourism officials. Choquequirao counted fewer than 9,500. To increase accessibility, the Peruvian government has committed to spending $260 million (£231.12 million) to build a cable car spanning three miles between the town of Kiuñalla and the archaeological site.

17. Utah, USA This popular adventure state is boosting its lesser-trafficked areas to combat overtourism

With five national parks and eight national monuments, Utah is an adventurer’s ultimate playground. But outdoor lovers tend to visit only a small and iconic group of destinations, such as Zion National Park. Now the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation has created an innovative grant programme to help fund new outdoor recreation projects throughout the state, including the Zion National Park Forever Project.

In Zion, known for its dramatic narrow canyons and towering sandstone cliffs, work began in 2022 on a new visitors centre on the park’s east side. The hope: to draw some of Zion’s annual five million visitors away from the crowded main south entrance and popular trails like Angels Landing. In addition to the sustainable visitors centre, plans include 30-plus miles of new mountain biking trails and 40 miles of hiking trails outside the east entrance.

18. Austrian Alps The cross-country Bergsteigerdörfer network of 36 mountaineering villages focuses on local life and culture.

To save a mountain range, it sometimes takes a village. Since 2008 an association of high-altitude hamlets located in Central Europe’s Eastern Alps have banded together to promote their small communities to the world’s adventure travellers interested in mountain hiking, biking and climbing, as well as winter sports like cross-country skiing and ice climbing.

Called the Bergsteigerdörfer, or the ‘Mountaineering Villages’, the network is concentrated primarily in Austria’s western states, including Tyrol and Carinthia, with additional member towns in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Slovenia. The Bergsteigerdörfer works to protect villages’ culture and traditions while preserving mountain landscapes from overdevelopment. Rejecting large-scale tourist projects like sprawling ski lodges and peak-scaling cable cars, the Bergsteigerdörfer villages, now numbering 36, put greater emphasis on green or sustainable mountain tourism.

19. Revillagigedo National Park, Mexico The ‘Galápagos of Mexico’ protects one of the largest aggregations of sharks and oceanic mantas in the world

Some 300 miles off the southern tip of Baja California Peninsula lies a national park steeped in superlatives. Revillagigedo National Park, a 57,000-square-mile Mexican marine reserve, is North America’s largest fully protected underwater park. It offers sanctuary to the continent’s greatest concentration of tropical marine megafauna, from hammerhead sharks to humpback whales, earning it the nickname ‘the Galápagos of Mexico’. And the waters surrounding its four main islands are fast becoming a mecca for scuba divers.

“The park is one of the few places, if not the only place on the planet, that you can have intimate interaction with giant oceanic mantas,” says marine biologist and underwater filmmaker Erick Higuera. He says the mantas, which can weigh up to 3,600 pounds and attain a wing span of 27ft, seem to like the feel of the divers’ oxygen bubbles on their bellies. The bottlenose dolphins that inhabit the park’s waters also show curiosity toward humans and will often swim up to and investigate divers.

20. Sierra Sur, Oaxaca, Mexico Oaxaca’s epic trail gains in popularity for visitors seeking Indigenous connections

Oaxaca is celebrated for its folk art and vibrant cuisine, but there’s more to be sampled in this subtropical Mexican state than black pottery and moles. Travellers searching for meaningful and respectful cultural exchanges with members of the 16 recognised Indigenous peoples are lacing up their hiking boots to venture into the agrarian heart of the Oaxacan interior on foot.

Growing in popularity is the Copalita Trail, a five-day adventure walk from the state’s southern Sierra Madres to its Pacific coast, stopping to camp, swim, and break bread in Zapotec villages. Because the trail is remote, with few intersecting roads, there is no opportunity to leave it and must be done with a guide. The journey begins in Oaxaca City where a bus brings hikers deep into the mountains. Over the next four days, hikers descend from the slopes past thick pine forests, down through coffee and bamboo plantations and into jungles, before floating down the Copalita River to arrive on the golden sand beaches near Huatulco.

21. Bhutan The reopened Trans-Bhutan Trail traverses 250 miles across the Himalayan kingdom

After using the pandemic downturn to reflect and rebuild, Bhutan officially reopened its borders in September 2022. As a mountainous country vulnerable to climate change, Bhutan is famously committed to sustainable, ‘low volume’ tourism that benefits the local community. The increased Sustainable Development Fee of US$200 (£180) per person, per night will be put to good use funding healthcare and education for Bhutan’s citizens, planting trees, and preserving the country’s cultural heritage.

Enticing pilgrims to the Himalayan kingdom is the 250-mile Trans-Bhutan Trail, which has reopened for the first time in 60 years, allowing hikers and bikers to traverse the length of the country. The track connects previously remote communities, spreading the economic benefits of tourism while sharing entirely new insights into Bhutanese life.

Kayakers explore Anthony Quinn Bay, Rhodes, Greece

Kayakers explore Anthony Quinn Bay, Rhodes, Greece

22. Dodecanese Islands, Greece This Greek archipelago balances growing popularity with sustaining its ancient traditions

Off the Turkish coast, the Greek islands of the Dodecanese cast an alluring spell stemming from their rocky beauty and feisty history. A cast of conquerors — Romans, Ottomans and Italians — left their fingerprints on everything from the architecture to the food, but today’s invaders come not for fortune, but for selfies, at such better-known Dodecanese islands as Leros, Patmos or Kos.

But now less trafficked parts of the archipelago like Karpathos, located halfway between Crete and Rhodes, must balance between the economic need for tourism and the environmental stresses caused by it. In this arid, hilly land of milk and honey, many families keep bees and make their own butter and cheese. Karpathos’s lonely white churches, timeworn towns and ancient traditions may draw adventurous visitors fleeing the more crowded Cycladic islands of Mykonos and Santorini, but the island’s water scarcity and lack of recycling capacity pose challenges.

23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin A smaller, less expensive Great Lakes city you shouldn’t miss

Wisconsin’s biggest and liveliest city combines a blue-collar, back-thumping energy with a close-knit creative community that’s turning heads beyond the Great Lakes. (Having a winning NBA team, the Bucks, doesn’t hurt either.)

Like the 450 motorcycles displayed inside its Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee is revving its engines in 2023. Riverside promenades are being built along its three waterways (the Milwaukee, Kinnickinnic and Menomonee Rivers), and the buzzy Deer District rises from a former field of vacant lots, with hotels, concert venues and the Bucks arena. Meanwhile traditional neighbourhoods are getting fresh development projects, such as the planned arts and cultural centre in Bronzeville focused on African American art.

24. Alberta, Canada In the Canadian Rockies, Indigenous voices connect travellers to undiscovered histories

Alberta is celebrated for its natural wonders like the Athabasca Glacier and Banff National Park, both high in the Rocky Mountains; its wide-open prairie vistas; and the glass-and-steel modernity of cities like Calgary and Edmonton. But there are different perspectives to consider in this Canadian province, part of a rethinking about how Indigenous stories are told across all of North America.

“[Travellers] who seek us out want to reconnect and refocus,” says Brenda Holder, a Cree/Iroquois guide who leads visitors on walks and workshops in the woods near Sundre, Alberta, to examine the medicinal plants her people rely upon.

Alberta’s Aboriginal sites offer touchstones into the province’s pre-European past. Visitors to Elk Island National Park, located just east of Edmonton, encounter cultural history dating back 8,000 years through guided hikes, hands-on interpretive programmes featuring prehistoric stone tools, and Cree crafting workshops.

25. Laos A new high-speed train is making more of Laos accessible

The Covid pandemic closed the borders of many tourism-dependent countries including Laos. But the Southeast Asian country known for its emerald-green vistas of the Upper Mekong got a boost in domestic travel with the December 2021 inauguration of a Chinese-financed and -constructed bullet train christened the Lane Xang, Laos’ ancient name meaning Kingdom of a Million Elephants. Originating in Kunming, China, the train’s 260-mile route within Laos starts at the border town of Boten and barrels through 75 tunnels and across 167 bridges, before terminating in the capital Vientiane.

The train’s promise: expanding tourism among the Lao themselves, who can now easily explore their country’s multifaceted heritage, including the old imperial capital, Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

26. Ghana The hottest destination for Black heritage travellers in West Africa is also a vibrant creative hub

With Covid restrictions relaxed, many travellers are once again taking up an invitation that Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo had extended pre-pandemic to people with African heritage: to return to this West African country, explore their African roots and connect with its citizens. The journeys, popularised by celebrity travellers such as Danny Glover and Chance the Rapper, were often emotional ones as visitors confronted the physical remnants of the slave trade along Ghana’s coast.

“More than a return, it’s a remembering,” says National Geographic photo editor Melissa Bunni Elian, who journeyed to Ghana last spring. Elian notes that Ghana has a “strong pan-African spirit. You’ll hear afrobeats everywhere, from the taxis to the grocery store, but also reggae, Haitian zouk, American hip-hop.”

27. Nova Scotia, Canada Canada puts a spotlight on its unique Acadian culture

The parishes of southern Louisiana have long been associated with the Acadians, France’s settlers in the New World. But the first Acadia lay further north, centred in Canada’s Atlantic Maritime provinces like Nova Scotia. French immigrants first arrived in the 1630s, only to be routed 120 years later by Britain during the French and Indian Wars (1754-1763). Beginning in 1755, ‘le Grand Dérangement’ (The Great Expulsion) saw Acadians forcibly resettled in British colonies or repatriated to France, and then to Louisiana. Allowed to return to Nova Scotia in 1764, the Acadians have defended and retained their unique culture and French language into this century. The twice-a-decade World Congress of Acadians takes place in 2024 here in the rural municipalities of Clare and Argyle.

28. Aboriginal Australia Greater Aboriginal rights go hand-in-hand with a new wave of Indigenous experiences

This year Australians will cast their vote on whether to enshrine an Aboriginal voice in the country’s constitution. The historic referendum takes place against a backdrop of greater recognition of Aboriginal rights, with vast swathes of land handed back to Traditional Owners, and the country’s first truth-telling commission underway in Victoria.

As the cogs of government churn, a new wave of experiences owned and led by Aboriginal Australians are helping travellers delve deeper into history, culture and cuisine. Found at the end of the Great Ocean Road is Budj Bim Cultural Landscape —newly inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2019 and the first in Australia to be listed for its Aboriginal cultural value — where visitors can explore the world’s oldest eel farms with Gunditjmara guides.

Wax palms in Colombia’s  Cocora Valley

Wax palms in Colombia’s  Cocora Valley.

29. San Francisco An urban trail and a new recreation area with stunning Golden Gate views get top marks from families

In San Francisco, city kids can learn that becoming a trail hiker doesn’t necessarily mean a trip into the wild. The recently completed Crosstown Trail meanders across the city diagonally, from its southeastern corner at Candlestick Point to its northwestern tip at Lands End, winding through gardens, up hills and across urban streets for nearly 17 miles.

Along the way, the trail skirts the Presidio. This 1,491-acre military post turned popular national park offers stunning Golden Gate Bridge views and in July celebrated the opening of the 14-acre Presidio Tunnel Tops. Designed by one of the same firms behind Manhattan’s High Line, the new site is set on top of concrete freeway tunnels and buzzes with a plastic-free nature play space, food trucks and campfire talks.

30. Trinidad and Tobago One of the most important leatherback turtle nesting sites in the world emphasizes the importance of sea turtle conservation programs

Consider that sea turtles survived the dinosaurs, but might not survive this century. Kids eager to help save the turtles — and encounter hundreds of them as well — can head to Trinidad and Tobago. With loggerheads, greens, leatherbacks, hawksbills and olive ridleys (five of the seven species of sea turtles) swimming off its shores, this Caribbean nation is a mecca for turtle tourism.

Nesting sites are found on both islands, with leatherbacks the most numerous — during the nesting season between March to August, an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 turtles mass on the nation’s shores. Trinidad’s Grande Riviere beach, on the island’s north coast, is the densest leatherback nesting ground in the world.

Turtle-watching programmes led by approved guides generate revenue to help save these creatures, which are under assault from climate change, habitat loss and plastic pollution.

31. Colombia The enchanted land of Encanto has birding, Indigenous cultures and alluring coasts and mountains

Colombia’s boisterous birdlife is as colourful and tuneful as Encanto, the hit Disney animated film set in this biodiverse South American country. More than 1,900 different birds (almost 20% of the world's avian species) live here, in places like the Perijá Mountains, making Colombia the richest roost for birdlife on the planet.

Where can families flock with them? The Northern Colombia Birding Trail, for birders both extreme and more casual, explores the country’s range of habitats. Tours with the National Audubon Society use 4X4 vehicles to visit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the planet’s highest coastal mountain range, as well as beach-blessed Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean coast. Visitors can spot species including the crested quetzal, Santa Marta parakeet, and the sickle-winged guan. Colombians and Wayuu Indigenous peoples work along the route as bird guides.

32. Manchester, UK This mecca for football fans is growing as an arts and culture hub

In 2023 Manchester launches a number of attractions to encourage its post-pandemic revival. The year’s centrepiece is the spring opening of the Factory International, a new £186 million downtown cultural space designed by Rem Koolhaas’s architectural firm. Named after the local record label that made hometown bands Joy Division and New Order globally famous, the Factory will become the permanent home of the Manchester International Festival. The city’s biannual, cutting-edge arts jam showcases the best in theatre, opera and music for all ages.

The year also marks the reopening of the reimagined Manchester Museum, which features new galleries focused on Chinese, South Asian and British Asian culture and a specially designed inclusive, family-focused Belonging Gallery that showcases how humans, plants and animals thrive together. Also coming into its own is the National Trust’s new ‘sky park’ on the Castlefield Viaduct, a walkable Victorian-era railroad bridge.

33. Switzerland A precision rail network leads to quaint Alpine towns for chocolate, hiking and skiing

On any given day, Switzerland’s transit network carries 6.6 million riders in a country of only 8.7 million people, tempting families on holiday with some unique trips on its famously punctual trains featuring spectacular mountains, classic cookies and even a Wonka-esque chocolate tour.

The Gotthard Panorama Express begins on a Lucerne steamboat crossing the city’s famous lake before boarding a train in Flüelen for a trip to Switzerland’s Italian-influenced south. A cookie train from Berne to Lucerne stops for a nibble at the Kambly bakery where kids can bake their own cookies and design a biscuit tin to take home. A chocolate train departing from Montreux starts with chocolate croissants and hot chocolate served onboard, stops in Gruyères to explore its medieval old town and world-famous cheese, and winds up in Broc for a tour of the Maison Cailler chocolate factory.

Making it all sweeter is the Swiss Family Card, a rail pass that allows anyone under the age of 16 to ride either free or at a 50% discount.

34. Bath The only double-listed World Heritage Site in the UK is developing new attractions

Bath may be one of the UK’s most visited cities, but it hasn’t been resting on its laurels in recent years. After a £5.5m renovation of its Roman baths in 2011, and becoming a double-inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021 — one of 11 European spa towns — the Bath World Heritage Centre opened in May 2022, featuring interactive exhibits and displays about Bath’s history, Georgian architecture and unique geology.

But the city founded as Aquae Sulis by the Romans is not just about its ancient past. In September, Cleveland Pools, Britain’s oldest lido, reopened after decades of neglect. Situated by the River Avon, the Grade II*-listed outdoor swimming pool dating back to 1815 was restored after an 18-year campaign to restore it.

And the £20 million Bath Abbey Footprint project, which saw a complete restoration of the medieval abbey church, has neared completion with its new Discovery Centre.

35. Wicklow, Ireland A multi-million pound treetop walk is just part of the Irish garden county’s new appeal

Wicklow is Ireland’s ‘garden county’ — similar in size to England’s Cotswolds and crammed with mountain trails for hikers and bikers, stately Palladian mansions, wild waterfalls and an underrated coast. As of this year, it’s also home to Ireland’s tallest slide and an exhilarating new walkway that gently ramps up to immerse visitors in the tree canopy itself.

Beyond the Trees Avondale is a revamped experience at Avondale Forest Park. The fully accessible canopy walk opens up birds’ eye views of an estate with over 100 tree species, while the swirling, 12-storey slide is the centrepiece of a wooden structure shaped like a giant pint of Guinness (the whoops you hear spraying about inside are from adults and kids alike).

Published in the December 2022 issue of   National Geographic Traveller (UK)  

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The World's Most-visited Tourist Attractions

Since 1971, Travel + Leisure editors have followed one mission: to inform, inspire, and guide travelers to have deeper, more meaningful experiences. T+L's editors have traveled to countries all over the world, having flown, sailed, road tripped, and taken the train countless miles. They've visited small towns and big cities, hidden gems and popular destinations, beaches and mountains, and everything in between. With a breadth of knowledge about destinations around the globe, air travel, cruises, hotels, food and drinks, outdoor adventure, and more, they are able to take their real-world experience and provide readers with tried-and-tested trip ideas, in-depth intel, and inspiration at every point of a journey.

For nearly 500 years, the emperors living within Beijing's opulent Forbidden City dictated who could enter and leave. Well, the gates have opened, and tourists are pouring in to see it all for themselves. Attendance is up by 2.5 million since 2010.

The Forbidden City is a dream destination for some Americans, but most have never researched a trip to Everland or Lotte World. Yet these South Korean theme parks also rank among the world's 50 most-visited tourist attractions—beating out the Eiffel Tower (nearly 7 million), the Great Pyramids (4 million), and Stonehenge (1 million). And there are more surprises.

Where we choose to spend our vacation time says a lot about what we value. Despite—or perhaps because of—what the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) calls "global economic challenges," more travelers are hitting the road than ever. International tourist arrivals increased by five percent in 2013, according to the UNWTO. That translates to a record of more than one billion trips. With its population of 1.36 billion, China has become the second-largest exporter of tourists. Russia, now the fifth-largest outbound market, increased travel spending by 26 percent.

Like it or not, theme parks clearly have worldwide appeal. France's Disneyland Park draws about the same number of visitors (10.5 million) as Sacré Coeur, and four of the world's 20 most-visited tourist attractions are Disney parks.

Many inspiring and iconic places can't quite keep up. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum narrowly missed the top 50, as did the British Museum in London (6.7 million), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (6.3 million), and the Roman Colosseum and Forum (5.1 million each). The Berlin Wall Memorial Site logged only 500,000 visitors in 2013, though extra crowds arrived in November 2014 for the 25th anniversary of its fall.

Accessibility can be a factor. It takes extra effort to reach Yellowstone National Park (3.2 million) or the Terracotta Army in Xi'an, China (4.8 million). And Peru's Machu Picchu has restricted tourism to help maintain the site's integrity; only 2,500 can enter per day, or 912,500 per year.

So what is the most-visited tourist attraction in the world? And can 91 million people be wrong? Read on to see the results—and an explanation of our methods for calculating it all.

Julie Bang/Travel + Leisure

The Methodology: To tally up the world's most-visited attractions, we gathered the most recent data supplied by the attractions themselves or from government agencies, industry reports, and reputable media outlets. In most cases, it was 2013 data. Attractions that don't sell tickets gave us estimates as best they could.

We defined "tourist attractions" as cultural and historical sites, natural landmarks, and officially designated spaces. So Boston's shop-filled Faneuil Hall Marketplace (est. 1742) made the cut, but not Minnesota's Mall of America, which, with 40 million annual visitors, would otherwise have tied for No. 4. Short walkways and plazas also fit our definition of tourist attractions; that disqualified the Blue Ridge Parkway. We also omitted beaches, bridges, and sites that draw almost exclusively religious pilgrims.

Reported by Kate Appleton, Rich Beattie, Adrien Glover, Lyndsey Matthews, April Orcutt, Joshua Pramis, and Ann Shields

No. 1 Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Annual Visitors: 91,250,000

Hand-painted ceramics, lanterns, intricately patterned carpets, copperware, gold Byzantine-style jewelry, and more eye-catching products vie for your attention within this 15th-century bazaar's vaulted walkways. It has since expanded and become increasingly touristy, but locals, too, are among the millions of bargain hunters. To haggle like a pro, lowball your starting offer and don't be afraid to walk away. And if it all gets overwhelming, break for a succulent doner kebab or strong cup of Turkish coffee.

Source: Grand Bazaar management

No. 2 The Zócalo, Mexico City

Jorge Castro/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 85,000,000

Formally known as the Plaza de la Constitución, the enormous Zócalo thrums with activity. It hosts military parades, cultural and political events, concerts, exhibitions, fairs, and public art installations. Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace flank this historic public square, and an imposing Mexican flag, raised and lowered daily, waves over the scene.

Source: Mexico Tourism Board

No. 3 Times Square, New York City

Annual Visitors: 50,000,000

Tourists flock to New York's neon heart for the flashing lights, Broadway shows, megastores, and sheer spectacle—including costumed characters eager to pose for photo ops. Pedestrian-only areas with café tables introduced a few years ago have made it easier and more appealing to hang out here. Times Square can even be a convenient, if chaotic, base, thanks to hotels at every price point and easy access to public transportation: subways, rails, buses, and more yellow taxis than you can count.

Source: The Times Square Alliance

No. 4 (tie) Central Park, New York City

Annual Visitors: 40,000,000

New York has larger green spaces, but none is more famous than Central Park , which stretches across nearly 850 acres of prime Manhattan real estate—an oasis for both tourists and locals. You can ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages, check out the modest-size zoo, climb to the top of 19th-century Belvedere Castle, or take a break from pounding the pavement to sprawl on the Great Lawn, gazing at the skyscrapers above.

Source: Central Park Conservancy

No. 4 (tie) Union Station, Washington, D.C.

Opened in 1907, this busy station shuttles some 12,500 passengers daily in and out of Washington, D.C. But it also handles millions of tourists who pass through to take in the impeccably mixed architectural styles throughout the colossal building: from Classical to Beaux-Arts to Baroque. More than 70 retail outlets make Union Station a shopping destination, and it's also a jumping-off point for many D.C. tours.

Source: Union Station

No. 6 Las Vegas Strip

Annual Visitors: 30,500,000

In 2013, 77 percent of Vegas tourists—30.5 million—chose to stay at hotels right on the four-mile-long Strip. And why not? Roll out of bed and onto the Strip to catch the Bellagio fountains in action, shop, gamble, and, of course, people-watch (which can get especially fun later at night). For a cool new vantage point, hop aboard the High Roller , a 550-foot-tall Ferris wheel that debuted in March 2014. It's part of Linq, a flashy 300,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex by Caesars.

Source: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

No. 7 (tie) Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo

Annual Visitors: 30,000,000

Built more than 100 years ago to honor the divine souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, this Shinto shrine in bustling Tokyo is a peaceful haven surrounded by a holy forest of more than 100,000 trees. Seasonal gardens feature spring azaleas, summer irises, brilliant autumn leaves on Japanese maples and ginkgos, and black pines dusted with winter snow.

Source: Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

No. 7 (tie) Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

Tokyo's oldest temple was dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon, the most compassionate Buddha, in 628. Dramatic nighttime illumination highlights vermilion and crimson detailing in the Five-Storied Pagoda. Continuing centuries-long tradition, stalls along the temple's Nakamise Street sell food and goods to pilgrims, whose numbers swell around New Year's.

No. 9 Niagara Falls, New York and Ontario

Annual Visitors: 22,000,000

Straddling the border of the U.S. and Canada, three massive waterfalls, together called Niagara Falls , spill about 6 million cubic feet of water—from a maximum vertical drop of 165 feet—every minute. While there are about 500 taller waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls is spectacular for its sheer power. It's also more accessible than many major falls, a short flight or drive for millions of regional tourists.

Source: Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp./Canadian Tourism Commission

No. 10 Grand Central Terminal, New York City

Annual Visitors : 21,600,00

Unlike harried commuters, visitors take their time in the main concourse of this Beaux-Arts landmark , pausing to view its glittering ceiling painted with a map of the constellations from the night sky. Shops, an annual holiday market, special events, and restaurants also attract attention. Two of the grandest venues are the Campbell Apartment, serving craft cocktails, and the historic Oyster Bar —featured on AMC's Mad Men —which shucks 2 million fresh bivalves a year.

Source: Grand Central Terminal

No. 11 Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

Annual Visitors: 20,000,000

The Old Basilica , begun in the 16th century and completed in 1709, stands in stark contrast to the massive new basilica, designed by the Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, which was built in the mid-1970s and looks like a sports arena. It is, in fact, intended to hold 50,000 people, who come for mass—celebrated several times a day—and to see an image of the Virgin Mary that is said to have appeared on an apron in 1531.

No. 12 Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Orlando, FL

Annual Visitors: 18,588,000

The Most Magical Place on Earth is high on virtually every family's to-do list and remains the most-visited theme park on the earth. Expanded Fantasyland now includes the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train family-style roller coaster and a chance to meet Anna and Elsa from the smash-hit Frozen in the Princess Fairytale Hall near Cinderella Castle. Time-tested attractions include the Jungle Cruise and Space Mountain, the daily Disney character parade down Main Street, USA, and a fireworks spectacular that lights up the sky many nights.

Source: TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report

See more Disney travel tips

No. 13 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston

Annual Visitors: 18,000,000

Dating back to 1742, Faneuil Hall ("the Cradle of Liberty") once hosted speeches by such greats as Samuel Adams and George Washington. Today, the downtown marketplace has more than 100 specialty shops and eateries and occupies a pedestrian-only, cobblestoned area that swarms with tourists and street performers. Each winter, Faneuil Hall also hosts Boston's tallest Christmas tree, along with festive light displays and choirs.

Source: Faneuil Hall Marketplace

No. 14 Tokyo Disneyland

Annual Visitors: 17,214,000

Disney's Tokyo outpost has become the second most-visited theme park in the world (beating out Anaheim, CA's Disneyland, which held that title in 2010). It shares the sweetness of the original parks' Fantasyland with Peter Pan's Flight and Dumbo the Flying Elephant as well as Tomorrowland's Space Mountain and Star Tours—The Adventures Continue. A musical soundtrack and other renovations have improved the Adventureland classic: Jungle Cruise Wildlife Expedition, while a new after-dark night cruise promises more surprises.

No. 15 Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA

Annual Visitors: 16,202,000

Though not as massive as its Orlando counterpart, the original Disney park , which occupies about 85 acres of land, has retro charm and some better features. Here the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction lasts almost twice as long and ends in a humid southern bayou with fireflies (instead of a gift shop). The Indiana Jones Adventure ride careens over lava, past swarms of beetles, and under that 16-foot rolling boulder. Thrill-seekers will also appreciate that the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has reopened.

No. 16 Forbidden City, Beijing

Annual Visitors: 15,340,000

It doesn't have a street address—which is only fitting for a place that was once considered the center of the universe. Nowadays, tourists swarm this 178-acre walled compound of opulent halls, gardens, and winged pavilions. Attendance is up by 2.5 million since 2010. It can easily take half a day to explore the grounds, and history buffs will appreciate the self-guided audio tour—or a hired guide.

Source: Forbidden City Palace Museum and China Odyssey Tours

No. 17 Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco

Annual Visitors: 14,289,121

Beaches, cliffs, hills, forts, and towering redwood trees make up the Golden Gate National Recreation Area , easily accessible from San Francisco. Many visitors come to embrace the outdoors, whether hiking, biking, swimming, birding, riding horses, or whale-watching. But this scenic area is also rich in history and includes landmarks like Alcatraz prison and the Presidio, an 18th-century military post. You can even base yourself within the recreation area; Cavallo Point's rooms and suites occupy restored turn-of-the-20th-century Colonial Revival buildings that overlook San Francisco Bay .

Source: National Park Service

No. 18 Tokyo DisneySea

Annual Visitors: 14,084,000

DisneySea , the companion park to Tokyo Disneyland overlooking Tokyo Bay, took inspiration from aquatic myths, legends and the lore of the sea. Divided into seven "ports of call," the park emphasizes water attractions with Venetian gondolas, a Mermaid Lagoon, a journey to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and an Aquatopia with quirky boats in a sea of rocks, whirlpools and water spouts. But it's not all fountains and bubbles—the park also has scary rides like the Tower of Terror, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull.

No. 19 Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Annual Visitors: 14,000,000

A masterpiece of Gothic architecture—all soaring buttresses, crouching gargoyles, and magnificent rose windows— Notre Dame has survived attacks of Huguenots, sansculottes, occupying armies, and questionable renovations since its completion in 1345. In spite of its often violent past, visitors flock to the cathedral for the hushed peace and reflection it provides, even in the midst of Paris.

Source: Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency

No. 20 Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Annual Visitors: 13,000,000

Cascading three miles from the Panhandle down to the Pacific, Golden Gate Park serves as playground and haven for this diverse city. The park's offerings include museums (the de Young Museum and the Academy of Sciences), botanical wonders (the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, a rhododendron forest, and more than 75,000 trees, among others), sporting fields and courts, playgrounds, and even a small herd of buffalo.

Source: San Francisco Recreation & Park Department

No. 21 Balboa Park, San Diego

Chelsea Loren/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 12,000,000 to 14,000,000

Balboa Park's 1,200 acres form a mini-city with 15 accredited museums, 19 gardens, nine performing arts groups, a miniature railroad, a golf course, tennis courts, lawn bowling, a gymnasium, a historic carousel, and a Super Sonic Samba School. Not to mention the world-famous San Diego Zoo , with three crowd-pleasing giant pandas. Balboa Park also features the Spreckels Organ, whose 4,518 pipes range from the size of a pencil to 32 feet tall.

Source: Balboa Park

No. 22 South Street Seaport, New York City

Annual Visitors: 12,000,000

This 12-block historic East River site in Lower Manhattan dates back to the 1600s, and its cobblestoned streets are packed with shops and restaurants. Pier 17 will reopen in 2016 after undergoing extensive renovation. Commercialism aside, the history runs deep here and is perhaps best experienced on one of the two 1800s tall-masted schooners the South Street Seaport Museum maintains. Go for a sunset sail with Gotham as a backdrop.

Source: The Howard Hughes Corporation

No. 23 San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, TX

Annual Visitors: 11,500,000

Cypress-lined cobble-and-flagstone paths meander for four miles along both sides of the narrow San Antonio River. Locals and visitors come to the River Walk's horseshoe-shaped loop downtown to browse shops and hang out at restaurants like Boudro's for a prickly-pear margarita and guacamole prepared tableside. The Museum Reach river walk section stretches an additional 1.7 miles north, past art installations under every bridge and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Source: San Antonio River Walk (Paseo del Rio)

No. 24 Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Michela Sieman/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 11,229,000

Built to honor the late Walt Disney's utopian ideal of the innovative future (the name is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), Epcot attracts guests who skew a little older than those of its neighbor, the Magic Kingdom. Restaurants are aimed at more sophisticated palates, and annual celebrations include a flower and garden show and an international food and wine festival. Perennial favorite rides like Soarin', Mission: SPACE, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends keep the kids and kids-at-heart happy. Expect visits to the Norway pavilion to spike when a Frozen -themed ride debuts in 2016.

No. 25 St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy

Annual Visitors: 11,000,000

One of the holiest Catholic sites, St. Peter's Basilica teems with ornate gold, marble columns, paintings of angels, iconic statues, and works created by a who's who of Renaissance artists, including Raphael, Brunelleschi, Bernini, and Michelangelo, who sculpted the marble Pietà and designed the massive dome. For a nominal fee, you can climb 320 steps to the top and soak up the most famous panorama of Rome .

Source: Italian Government Tourist Board

No. 26 Great Wall of China

Annual Visitors: 10,720,000 (Badaling and Mutianyu areas combined)

Once used as a wartime defense, the Great Wall winds "like a dragon tail" from eastern China to western, spanning some 5,500 miles. While much of what is visible today was built during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), construction began on various sections as far back as 770 B.C. Credit goes to the million slaves and prisoners of war who carried blocks of granite, bricks, stones, and dirt on their backs up to the top of the ridgelines. The Badaling section, closest to Beijing, draws the biggest crowds. Word has gotten out, inspiring some travelers to make the longer drive to the more serene Mutianyu section.

Source: National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China and China Odyssey Tours

No. 27 Sacré Coeur Basilica, Paris

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Annual Visitors: 10,500,000

Sacré Coeur lures visitors to the summit of Montmartre for a litany of reasons—while some come to pray and meditate, most come for the remarkable 360-degree views of the City of Light from its highest vantage point. The construction of the basilica, which started in 1871, was intended to restore peace to a site stained by violence during the Paris Commune.

No. 28 Disneyland Park, Marne-la-Vallée, France

Annual Visitors: 10,430,000

When Disney's first European theme park opened in 1992, many French protested the "cultural imperialism" of such an American symbol opening 40 minutes outside of Paris. Today it's one of the most-visited locations in Europe. So be prepared to queue for popular rides like It's a Small World, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast. A 3D ride inspired by the film Ratatouille opened in 2014; enter through a replica of Gusteau's restaurant.

No. 29 Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Annual Visitors: 10,198,000

Since 1998, this animal-themed park has successfully marketed Mickey Mouse and silverback gorillas under one all-inclusive "roof." If it has four legs or wings or a tail, chances are you'll find it at this zoo/museum/school theme park. Don't miss the Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest, or the 14-story Tree of Life sculpture carved with some 325 animals. Fun fact: at one point park creators also wanted to include a section for mythological creatures called "Beastly Kingdom."

No. 30 Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Annual Visitors: 10,110,000

Disney describes this park (est. 1989) as " the Hollywood that never was and always will be ." Laid out much like a real-life motion picture studio, with a 154-acre network of streets and buildings and miniature replicas of famous landmarks, it showcases the golden age of film. But most kids make a beeline to Toy Story Midway Mania! at Pixar Place and Star Tours—The Adventures Continue.

No. 31 Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan

Annual Visitors: 10,100,000

Opened in 2001 and a near twin to its Orlando sibling—albeit one with more sushi— this popular movie theme park is one of four operated by Universal in Japan. Highlights include a Jaws -like shark encounter, Jurassic Park roller-coaster ride, Sesame Street in 4-D, and now the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Interesting fact: investment banking firm Goldman Sachs is the park's largest shareholder.

No. 32 Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, CA

Annual Visitors: 10,000,000 to 12,000,000

Nothing says Hollywood like the (literally) star-studded Walk of Fame , with each star bearing the name of a celebrity with enough cachet to be immortalized on the street. That means stars from James Dean and Marilyn Monroe to, more recently, Tina Fey and Neil Patrick Harris.

Source: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

No. 33 Pike Place Market, Seattle

Annual Visitors: 10,000,000

One of the oldest continually operating farmers' markets in the U.S. (est. 1907), this nine-acre National Historic District is famous for kitschy Seattle souvenirs, salmon-throwing fishmongers, and its "gum wall" installation art. The many seafood restaurants include Market Grill and Emmett Watson's for oysters. It's just down the street from one of the original Starbucks—complete with an early-edition logo featuring a more, er, risqué mermaid.

Source: Pike Place Market

No. 34 Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

Annual Visitors: 9,345,695

Originally Cherokee homeland, America's most-visited national park first opened in 1940 and covers some 520,000 acres of protected Tennessee and North Carolina forestland that's bisected by the Appalachian Trail. Whether hiking Chimney Tops (or any of the 800 miles of trails) or driving the super-scenic U.S. Highway 441, visitors are sure to get an eyeful of the mystical haze that inspired the park's name. To escape the crowds, park ranger Caitlin Worth recommends heading to Balsam Mountain Road, a high-elevation gravel road accessible from the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

No. 35 Musée du Louvre, Paris

Annual Visitors: 9,334,000

The world's largest museum is both the subject of ongoing architectural controversy—not everyone agrees with the 1989 addition of I. M. Pei's 69-foot-high glass pyramid entrance—and an art-lover's wonderland of some 35,000 masterworks. Throngs parade through the former 12th-century palace to see such famous highlights as Leonardo da Vinci's smiling La Gioconda , a.k.a. Mona Lisa —a painting that, rumor has it, was originally commissioned by François I to hang in his château at Fontainebleau. And the crush of visitors continues to increase, up about 10 percent since 2010. One tip: avoid peak crowds by timing your arrival to Wednesday or Friday evening, when the museum is open until 9:45 p.m.

No. 36 Navy Pier, Chicago

Annual Visitors: 8,900,000

While the USS Chicago —docked at the end of the pier—is a reminder of its World War I military past, this bustling Lake Michigan promenade now caters to civilians with a mix of carnival rides, dancing fountains, trinket stalls, an IMAX theater, and local food favorites Garrett Popcorn and Billy Goat Tavern. Don't miss the exceptional stained-glass museum featuring colorful works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Source: Navy Pier

No. 37 Disney's California Adventure, Anaheim, CA

Annual Visitors: 8,514,000

Cars Land, a 12-acre real-life rendition of Radiator Springs from the films that pay homage to Route 66 and retro-cars culture, remains a big draw at Disney's California Adventure . Guests "racing" in the Radiator Springs Racers attraction never know which car will get the checkered flag. Most fun, though, is still Soarin' Over California, a simulated hang-glider flight over the Golden State complete with motion, wind, and the sweet scent of orange blossoms.

No. 38 Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Annual Visitors: 8,200,000

With its dramatic cantilevered roof and harbor setting, the Sydney Opera House is easily Australia's most recognizable landmark—and its most visited. Few tourists leave Sydney without at least stopping here for a photo op. But you can do much more: go backstage for a tour, attend one of the 40-plus weekly performances, and watch the sun set over the city and Sydney Harbour Bridge from the alfresco Opera Bar. Make your grand exit on the scenic Manly Ferry, which passes right by.

Source: Sydney Opera House

No. 39 Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, FL

Number of Visitors: 8,141,000

Hogwarts fans went hog wild when Islands of Adventure opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010, and the attendance numbers continue to reflect Harry's magic touch. Shops, restaurants (The Three Broomsticks), and rides are all branded with the boy wizard; nonbelievers can find rides themed with Marvel superheroes and other trademarked characters. The Jurassic Park River Adventure, for instance, is a hairy river-raft ride with a terrifying T. rex attack, set in a habitat for animatronic dinosaurs.

No. 40 (tie) Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Annual Visitors: 8,000,000

Dinosaur fossils, a huge stuffed elephant, and an insect zoo have been wowing kids for generations (and for free). The 126-million-item collection even includes the notorious Hope Diamond. But this National Mall favorite continues to innovate, in the last few years opening the Ocean Hall and the ambitious Hall of Human Origins, where visitors come face-to-face with specimens and models of their ancestors.

No. 40 (tie) Grand Palace, Bangkok

Number of Visitors: 8,000,000

The gold-spired Grand Palace in Bangkok is one of Thailand's most important sacred sites. The riverfront complex, built in 1782, housed Thai kings for 150 years. The Outer Court serves as the visitor entrance today; the Center Court was the king's residence; and the Inner Court, the quarters of his consorts and daughters. Keep an eye out for Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, located near the Outer Court.

Source: Thailand Tourist Services

No. 40 (tie) Pier 39, San Francisco

Melissa Zink/Travel + Leisure

Of course it's corny—replete with candy shops, T-shirt emporiums, stuffed animals, and fried food—but this tourist magnet at the edge of Fisherman's Wharf offers great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Perhaps the wooden pier's biggest attraction is the noisy community of sea lions that bark and bask on the docks. Aquarium of the Bay is by the pier's entrance.

Source: PIER 39

No. 43 Palace of Versailles, France

Annual Visitors: 7,527,122

King Louis XIV did a pretty nice job redoing a place that started out as a mere hunting lodge and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's so nice, in fact, that people willingly trade a day in Paris cafés for the experience of wandering Versailles' hallways, like the gilded Hall of Mirrors—the best place to channel your inner Sun King.

No. 44 Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Annual Visitors: 7,475,000

Sure, there are roller coasters, but this 40-acre theme park stands out for attractions that are more down to earth. There's Panda Village, where, despite the name, visitors come to see playful otters; Pacific Pier, where you can feed seals and sea lions; and the Sea Jelly Spectacular, where you can marvel at some 1,000 jellyfish, including many phosphorescent species. A mountain divides the park, which you can navigate by bus, train, even cable car. (It's a bus ride away from central Hong Kong.)

No. 45 Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Annual Visitors: 7,470,000

You'd have to be a pretty big curmudgeon for Bourbon Street not to put you in a good mood. Free-flowing music and booze might have something to do with it. Restaurants and bars pack this historic strip of the French Quarter; Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is even rumored to be haunted. Of course, if you really like crowds, grab your mask and join the Mardi Gras circus.

Source: New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau

No. 46 National Museum of China, Beijing

Annual Visitors: 7,450,000

This museum on Tiananmen Square measures 2.07 million square feet—surpassing New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2 million square feet—and reopened in 2011 after a decade-long renovation. It presents 5,000 years of Chinese history, as approved by the Ministry of Culture. (In other words, don't expect much on the Great Leap Forward.) Artifacts include ancient Chinese Buddhist sculptures, a cowboy hat Deng Xiaoping wore on a visit to the U.S., and glazed pottery from the Tang dynasty. The museum also hosts temporary shows on subjects ranging from Leo Tolstoy to African art.

No. 47 (tie) Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong

Annual Visitors: 7,400,000

Hong Kong Disneyland features tried-and-true crowd-pleasers like Sleeping Beauty's castle and Space Mountain as well as the recent additions of Mystic Point (2013), Grizzly Gulch (2012) and Toy Story Land (2011), increasing the park's size in the last three years by 25 percent. What sets this park apart from the others? It was designed according to the Chinese rules of feng shui in a nod to local culture. It also has a dedicated stop on Hong Kong's efficient metro.

No. 47 (tie) Lotte World, Seoul

The world's largest indoor theme park is just the beginning of a complex that seems as big as Seoul itself. An outdoor amusement park, a folk museum, theaters, malls, an aquarium, and other venues round it out, along with—of course—plenty of karaoke machines.

No. 49 Everland, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea

Annual Visitors: 7,303,000

Everland amusement park in South Korea has been thrilling kids since 1973 and knows how to keep them coming. The park is divided into themed sections that range from American Adventure (a rodeo experience, a wildly swinging Columbus ship) to Zoo-Topia (Amazon River ride, Safari World). It holds the record for the world's steepest wooden roller coaster.

No. 50 Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Annual Visitors: 7,000,000 to 8,000,000

The Taj Mahal is a graceful tribute to eternal love—a mausoleum that a 17th-century Moghul emperor built for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Gardens and reflecting pools with fountains lead to the mausoleum made of white marble with inlaid flower patterns made of semiprecious stones. The number of visitors has more than doubled since 2010 (when it welcomed 3 million).

Source: Department of Tourism, Government of Uttar Pradesh

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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 

Love Exploring

Love Exploring

Record-Breaking Tourist Attractions From Around The World

Posted: September 26, 2023 | Last updated: September 26, 2023

From super-sized natural wonders and man-made marvels to some of the weirdest, creepiest and teeny-tiniest sights, we take a look at some of the best record-breaking attractions around the world.

Chart toppers

<p>The Waimangu Volcanic Valley on New Zealand’s North Island is a hotbed of geothermal activity. It’s where you’ll find the world's largest hot spring by surface area, and the world’s second largest in terms of discharge. Waimangu Cauldron, or Frying Pan Lake, as it’s more commonly known, is shallow (20 feet/6m) but covers an area of 409,029 square feet (38,000sqm). The thermal area of Waimangu, which means “black water” in Maori, was only created in 1886 after the powerful eruption of Mount Tarawera. With acidic waters at 122-140°F this isn’t a place you want to get too close to – a better idea is to board a scenic flight to admire it in all its steamy glory from above.</p>

Largest hot spring: Waimangu Cauldron, New Zealand

The Waimangu Volcanic Valley on New Zealand’s North Island is a hotbed of geothermal activity. It’s where you’ll find the world's largest hot spring by surface area, and the world’s second largest in terms of discharge. Waimangu Cauldron, or Frying Pan Lake, as it’s more commonly known, is shallow (20 feet/6m) but covers an area of 409,029 square feet (38,000sqm). The thermal area of Waimangu, which means “black water” in Maori, was only created in 1886 after the powerful eruption of Mount Tarawera. With acidic waters at 122-140°F this isn’t a place you want to get too close to – a better idea is to board a scenic flight to admire it in all its steamy glory from above.

<p>Paris’s sprawling museum, the Musee du Louvre is officially the most visited museum in the world. It welcomed a whopping 7.8 million visitors through its iconic pyramid entrance in 2022. A former fortress and palace, opening as a museum in 1793, the incredible space is home to the world’s most famous painting, Leonardo Da Vinci’s <em>Mona Lisa</em>, along with 35,000 other pieces of art, including masterpieces by the likes of Edouard Manet, Titian and Rembrandt. The hallowed institute, also one of the world’s largest museums, began capping daily admissions in 2022 at 30,000 people. It also introduced timeslots to even out visitor numbers.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/loveexploringUK?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=front"><strong>Love this? Follow us on Facebook for more travel inspiration</strong></a></p>

Most visited museum: the Musee du Louvre, France

Paris’s sprawling museum, the Musee du Louvre is officially the most visited museum in the world. It welcomed a whopping 7.8 million visitors through its iconic pyramid entrance in 2022. A former fortress and palace, opening as a museum in 1793, the incredible space is home to the world’s most famous painting, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa , along with 35,000 other pieces of art, including masterpieces by the likes of Edouard Manet, Titian and Rembrandt. The hallowed institute, also one of the world’s largest museums, began capping daily admissions in 2022 at 30,000 people. It also introduced timeslots to even out visitor numbers.

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<p>Vietnam is full of awe-inspiring beauty but Son Doong Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park takes it to another level. The main passage of this vast cavern is just over three miles (5km) long, with parts of it reaching up to 656 feet tall (200m) and 541 feet wide (165m). In total it’s over five-and-a-half miles (9km) long. Even more mind-blowing is that within its depths lie a primeval rainforest and underground river, and it has its own microclimate. You can’t just wander in, however. The cave can only be explored on a guided tour, and numbers are limited to 1,000 visitors a year to protect this extraordinary and fragile natural wonder.</p>

Biggest cave: Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

Vietnam is full of awe-inspiring beauty but Son Doong Cave in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park takes it to another level. The main passage of this vast cavern is just over three miles (5km) long, with parts of it reaching up to 656 feet tall (200m) and 541 feet wide (165m). In total it’s over five-and-a-half miles (9km) long. Even more mind-blowing is that within its depths lie a primeval rainforest and underground river, and it has its own microclimate. You can’t just wander in, however. The cave can only be explored on a guided tour, and numbers are limited to 1,000 visitors a year to protect this extraordinary and fragile natural wonder.

<p>Northeast Greenland National Park is one of the world’s last pristine wildernesses, but you’ll have to join an expedition cruise to experience this icy landscape, of which 80% is permanently covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet. Measuring 375,300 square miles (972,000 sq km) and almost entirely untouched by humans, the high-Arctic ecosystem is the world’s largest national park and its largest protected land area. It’s roughly the same area as Spain and France combined. Those who do get to see it will be awed by its carved icebergs, otherworldly rock formations, snow-cloaked mountains and immense tundra. This is where polar bears and the extremely rare polar wolf roam. Narwhals, walruses and beluga whales also inhabit its frigid waters.</p>

Largest national park: Northeast Greenland National Park, Greenland

Northeast Greenland National Park is one of the world’s last pristine wildernesses, but you’ll have to join an expedition cruise to experience this icy landscape, of which 80% is permanently covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet. Measuring 375,300 square miles (972,000 sq km) and almost entirely untouched by humans, the high-Arctic ecosystem is the world’s largest national park and its largest protected land area. It’s roughly the same area as Spain and France combined. Those who do get to see it will be awed by its carved icebergs, otherworldly rock formations, snow-cloaked mountains and immense tundra. This is where polar bears and the extremely rare polar wolf roam. Narwhals, walruses and beluga whales also inhabit its frigid waters.

<p>Now we move from ice to the icing-sugar sand of the Seychelles, where you'll find the world's smallest national park. Moyenne is a privately owned island, just off the coast of Mahe. It sits within Sainte-Anne Marine Park but enjoys its own autonomy as a national park thanks to its late owner, a British conservationist called Brendon Grimshaw, who set up a trust to preserve and protect it from development. It’s possible to visit this lush speckle of an isle – you won’t need long to navigate its walking paths, as it’s only around a third of a mile long (less than half a kilometer), but you'll see a diverse amount of tropical vegetation. Moyenne has around 40 endemic plants, along with a healthy population of giant Aldabra tortoises.</p>

Smallest national park: Moyenne Island, Seychelles

Now we move from ice to the icing-sugar sand of the Seychelles, where you'll find the world's smallest national park. Moyenne is a privately owned island, just off the coast of Mahe. It sits within Sainte-Anne Marine Park but enjoys its own autonomy as a national park thanks to its late owner, a British conservationist called Brendon Grimshaw, who set up a trust to preserve and protect it from development. It’s possible to visit this lush speckle of an isle – you won’t need long to navigate its walking paths, as it’s only around a third of a mile long (less than half a kilometer), but you'll see a diverse amount of tropical vegetation. Moyenne has around 40 endemic plants, along with a healthy population of giant Aldabra tortoises.

<p>Thirteen years after the Burj Khalifa officially opened in downtown Dubai, the gleaming mega-tall skyscraper still holds the world record for the tallest building on the planet. The captivating tower sits at 2,716 feet (828m) and has 163 floors. It also lays claim to a litany of other record-busting features including having the highest outdoor observation deck in the world. When it opened in 2010, the Burj took the mantle from Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which stands at 1,666 feet tall (508m). Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower was set to dwarf Dubai’s iconic tower but work on its construction has stalled.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/132122/the-worlds-tallest-buildings-with-observation-decks?page=1"><strong>These are the world's tallest buildings with observation decks</strong></a></p>

Tallest building: Burj Khalifa, UAE

Thirteen years after the Burj Khalifa officially opened in downtown Dubai, the gleaming mega-tall skyscraper still holds the world record for the tallest building on the planet. The captivating tower sits at 2,716 feet (828m) and has 163 floors. It also lays claim to a litany of other record-busting features including having the highest outdoor observation deck in the world. When it opened in 2010, the Burj took the mantle from Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which stands at 1,666 feet tall (508m). Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower was set to dwarf Dubai’s iconic tower but work on its construction has stalled.

These are the world's tallest buildings with observation decks

<p>Speedsters will find plenty to rev their engines at Ferrari World on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. This theme park has 40 rides and driving experiences but it’s Formula Rossa that most thrill-seekers steer a course to. The coaster’s cars go from 0 to 149 miles per hour (240km/h) in just 4.9 seconds while racing up to 170 feet (52m) in the air. The Ferrari-branded theme park is home to many more record-breaking attractions, including Flying Aces, the world's highest loop ride, while the park's space-frame structure is the largest ever built.</p>

Fastest roller coaster: Formula Rossa, UAE

Speedsters will find plenty to rev their engines at Ferrari World on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. This theme park has 40 rides and driving experiences but it’s Formula Rossa that most thrill-seekers steer a course to. The coaster’s cars go from 0 to 149 miles per hour (240km/h) in just 4.9 seconds while racing up to 170 feet (52m) in the air. The Ferrari-branded theme park is home to many more record-breaking attractions, including Flying Aces, the world's highest loop ride, while the park's space-frame structure is the largest ever built.

<p>Another reason why thrill-seekers should put the UAE on their wish list is the Jais Flight, a jaw-dropping zipline that zooms riders over the rugged Jebel Jais mountain in Ras Al Khaimah. Riders are attached to the wire before they’re launched to zoom headfirst at speeds of up to 99 miles per hour (160 km/h) at a height of 5,512 feet (1,680m). It runs for just under two miles (2.83km) and lasts for three minutes, where riders (assuming they can open their eyes) get a bird’s eye view of the range’s rugged landscape.</p>

Longest zipline: Jais Flight, UAE

Another reason why thrill-seekers should put the UAE on their wish list is the Jais Flight, a jaw-dropping zipline that zooms riders over the rugged Jebel Jais mountain in Ras Al Khaimah. Riders are attached to the wire before they’re launched to zoom headfirst at speeds of up to 99 miles per hour (160 km/h) at a height of 5,512 feet (1,680m). It runs for just under two miles (2.83km) and lasts for three minutes, where riders (assuming they can open their eyes) get a bird’s eye view of the range’s rugged landscape.

<p>The wood oven in Restaurante Botin has been firing for over 300 years, roasting suckling pigs and lambs in the age-old Castilian style – in fact it’s never put out. This Madrid institution on Calle Cuchilleros was founded in 1725 and has been recognised as the world’s oldest restaurant by the <em>Guinness Book of Records</em>. Not only is its characterful interior the picture of an 18th-century tavern but its recipes, which also include line-caught hake and Castilian soup, give you a taste of the past. It also boasts an atmospheric wine cellar, lined with some rare vintages.</p>

Oldest restaurant: Restaurante Sobrino Botin, Spain

The wood oven in Restaurante Botin has been firing for over 300 years, roasting suckling pigs and lambs in the age-old Castilian style – in fact it’s never put out. This Madrid institution on Calle Cuchilleros was founded in 1725 and has been recognised as the world’s oldest restaurant by the  Guinness Book of Records . Not only is its characterful interior the picture of an 18th-century tavern but its recipes, which also include line-caught hake and Castilian soup, give you a taste of the past. It also boasts an atmospheric wine cellar, lined with some rare vintages.

<p>Bright and brash, this behemoth in the Genting Highlands, just north of Kuala Lumpur, is the largest hotel in the world and proud of it. The First World Hotel is part of Resorts World Genting and has 7,351 guest rooms set across its two main rainbow-colored towers. As you’d expect, there’s a wide choice of rooms, from the bijou standard room to the world club rooms featuring 420 square feet (39sqm) of living space. The three-star hotel leads into the wider resort which has a shopping mall, casino, indoor theme park and golf course.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/72892/the-worlds-tallest-hotels-with-breathtaking-views?page=1">These are the highest hotel rooms in the world</a></strong></p>

Biggest hotel by number of rooms: the First World Hotel, Malaysia

Bright and brash, this behemoth in the Genting Highlands, just north of Kuala Lumpur, is the largest hotel in the world and proud of it. The First World Hotel is part of Resorts World Genting and has 7,351 guest rooms set across its two main rainbow-colored towers. As you’d expect, there’s a wide choice of rooms, from the bijou standard room to the world club rooms featuring 420 square feet (39sqm) of living space. The three-star hotel leads into the wider resort which has a shopping mall, casino, indoor theme park and golf course.

These are the highest hotel rooms in the world

<p>For those who prefer a more boutique experience, the Eh'hausl Hotel might be more appealing. This luxurious bolthole in Amberg, a charming medieval town in Bavaria, holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest hotel. Behind its red facade, there’s room for just two people, though it squeezes in space for a small whirlpool, flat screen TV and a mini spa. It's only 8.2 feet wide (2.4m) with a total floorspace of just 173 square feet (53sqm) over a few floors. But the little lodging has an extensive history. The building dates back to 1728 and its name translates as “the marriage house” as it was built to circumvent a law that only allowed couples to marry if they owned a house.</p>

Smallest hotel: The Eh'hausl Hotel, Germany

For those who prefer a more boutique experience, the Eh'hausl Hotel might be more appealing. This luxurious bolthole in Amberg, a charming medieval town in Bavaria, holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest hotel. Behind its red facade, there’s room for just two people, though it squeezes in space for a small whirlpool, flat screen TV and a mini spa. It's only 8.2 feet wide (2.4m) with a total floorspace of just 173 square feet (53sqm) over a few floors. But the little lodging has an extensive history. The building dates back to 1728 and its name translates as “the marriage house” as it was built to circumvent a law that only allowed couples to marry if they owned a house.

<p>Talking of tiny... Who doesn’t love a miniature village? Bekonscot Model Village & Railway in Buckinghamshire claims to be the world's oldest model village. This diddy delight opened in 1929 and exploring it is very much like stepping back into 1930s England. Across its 1.5-acre gardens are seven miniscule towns from the 1930s, with Bekonscot Town the flagship. In total there are more than 200 buildings, 3,000 inhabitants, 1,000 animals and hundreds of moving vehicles, with an intricate level of detail to them all. Peek inside the diminutive dwellings and you’ll find yet more cute little features.</p>

Oldest model village: Bekonscot Model Village, England, UK

Talking of tiny... Who doesn’t love a miniature village? Bekonscot Model Village & Railway in Buckinghamshire claims to be the world's oldest model village. This diddy delight opened in 1929 and exploring it is very much like stepping back into 1930s England. Across its 1.5-acre gardens are seven miniscule towns from the 1930s, with Bekonscot Town the flagship. In total there are more than 200 buildings, 3,000 inhabitants, 1,000 animals and hundreds of moving vehicles, with an intricate level of detail to them all. Peek inside the diminutive dwellings and you’ll find yet more cute little features.

<p>Test your nerves at New Jersey's squeal-inducing Six Flags Great Adventure theme park. It's home to the record busting Kingda Ka, officially the tallest roller coaster in the world thanks to its inverted, U-shaped loop, which shoots up to 456 feet (139m), or around 45 stories. It's also the fastest roller coaster in North America, with riders whizzing from 0 to 128 miles per hour (206km/h) in just 3.5 seconds, before plummeting down towards the ground in a 270-degree spiral. </p>

Tallest roller coaster in the world: Kingda Ka, USA

Test your nerves at New Jersey's squeal-inducing Six Flags Great Adventure theme park. It's home to the record busting Kingda Ka, officially the tallest roller coaster in the world thanks to its inverted, U-shaped loop, which shoots up to 456 feet (139m), or around 45 stories. It's also the fastest roller coaster in North America, with riders whizzing from 0 to 128 miles per hour (206km/h) in just 3.5 seconds, before plummeting down towards the ground in a 270-degree spiral. 

<p>You'd have to seriously push yourself to try out all 50 slides and 105 attractions and experiences at Dubai's world-leading water park, Aquaventure at Atlantis, the Palm. Stay at the hotel though and you can give it a good go during your vacation, as guests get free entrance. Brave the Blackout to slide down an almost vertical drop or take the Leap of Faith for another high-speed drop before whizzing through a shark-filled lagoon. Ride the rapids along the longest lazy river in the region, leap off cliffs at Immortal Falls or take it easy on Aquaventure Beach. The already voluminous waterpark got even bigger in 2021, when new areas Trident Tower, Splashers Lagoon and Splashers Cove were added.</p>

Waterpark with the most slides: Atlantis Aquaventure, UAE

You'd have to seriously push yourself to try out all 50 slides and 105 attractions and experiences at Dubai's world-leading water park, Aquaventure at Atlantis, the Palm. Stay at the hotel though and you can give it a good go during your vacation, as guests get free entrance. Brave the Blackout to slide down an almost vertical drop or take the Leap of Faith for another high-speed drop before whizzing through a shark-filled lagoon. Ride the rapids along the longest lazy river in the region, leap off cliffs at Immortal Falls or take it easy on Aquaventure Beach. The already voluminous waterpark got even bigger in 2021, when new areas Trident Tower, Splashers Lagoon and Splashers Cove were added.

<p>Created at a time before humans had domesticated animals or cultivated crops, Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is regarded as the oldest known monumental structure on Earth. These intriguing oval and rectangular limestone structures, which include elaborately carved T-shaped pillars, were erected 11,000 years ago – that’s a whopping 6,000 years before Stonehenge. It’s thought this hilltop structure in upper Mesopotamia, near Urfa, was used by hunter-gatherers as a kind of temple or meeting place for rituals.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/118797/ancient-discoveries-found-recently?page=1">These are the most incredible ancient discoveries made recently</a></strong></p>

Oldest structure: Gobekli Tepe, Turkey

Created at a time before humans had domesticated animals or cultivated crops, Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is regarded as the oldest known monumental structure on Earth. These intriguing oval and rectangular limestone structures, which include elaborately carved T-shaped pillars, were erected 11,000 years ago – that’s a whopping 6,000 years before Stonehenge. It’s thought this hilltop structure in upper Mesopotamia, near Urfa, was used by hunter-gatherers as a kind of temple or meeting place for rituals.

These are the most incredible ancient discoveries made recently

<p>Since the late 19th-century the daredevil Swiss have launched themselves from the Faulhorn to Grindelwald Oberall by toboggan. Hailed as the world's longest toboggan run, this spectacular route runs for nine miles (15km) from an elevation of 8,792 feet (2,680m) and can be completed in 30 minutes by serious sledders. The Big Pintenfritz is named after local character Fritz Bohren, who ran the Hotel Bellevue in Grindelwald (known as the Pinte) and Berghotel Faulhorn from 1888 to 1926. He's said to have raced down the slopes between the two establishments by sled. To do the full course, you have to haul your sled from the first gondola cableway station to get to the run's start on Faulhorn's summit. It’s only accessible by foot.</p>

Longest toboggan run: Big Pintenfritz, Switzerland

Since the late 19th-century the daredevil Swiss have launched themselves from the Faulhorn to Grindelwald Oberall by toboggan. Hailed as the world's longest toboggan run, this spectacular route runs for nine miles (15km) from an elevation of 8,792 feet (2,680m) and can be completed in 30 minutes by serious sledders. The Big Pintenfritz is named after local character Fritz Bohren, who ran the Hotel Bellevue in Grindelwald (known as the Pinte) and Berghotel Faulhorn from 1888 to 1926. He's said to have raced down the slopes between the two establishments by sled. To do the full course, you have to haul your sled from the first gondola cableway station to get to the run's start on Faulhorn's summit. It’s only accessible by foot.

<p>On 1 March 1872, Yellowstone became the world’s first ever national park during the presidency of Ulysses S Grant in order to protect the extraordinary landscape. There are many more record-breaking things about this vast wilderness, which spreads 3,472 square miles (8,992sq/km) across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It has 10,000 hydrothermal features – more than the rest of the world combined. It's home to 67 mammal species and has the largest concentration of wildlife in the country’s lower 48 states. The park is especially famed for its bison and is also the only place in the US where these bulky beasts have lived continuously since prehistoric times.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/135655/surprising-us-national-park-facts-you-probably-didnt-know?page=1"><strong>Surprising facts about America's national parks</strong></a></p>

Oldest national park: Yellowstone National Park, USA

On 1 March 1872, Yellowstone became the world’s first ever national park during the presidency of Ulysses S Grant in order to protect the extraordinary landscape. There are many more record-breaking things about this vast wilderness, which spreads 3,472 square miles (8,992sq/km) across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It has 10,000 hydrothermal features – more than the rest of the world combined. It's home to 67 mammal species and has the largest concentration of wildlife in the country’s lower 48 states. The park is especially famed for its bison and is also the only place in the US where these bulky beasts have lived continuously since prehistoric times.

Surprising facts about America's national parks

<p>This almighty structure is the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast and it’s the world's largest single church building of any denomination, according to the <em>Guinness Book of Records</em>. Built in the country’s administrative capital Yamoussoukro between 1986–89, the Catholic basilica’s sprawling exterior measures 322,291 square feet (30,000sqm). It has a capacity for 8,000 seated worshippers inside and can contain crowds of hundreds of thousands on its outside grounds. It was the passion project of then President Felix Houphouet-Boigny and was modeled on the Vatican City’s St Peters.</p>

Largest church: the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast

This almighty structure is the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast and it’s the world's largest single church building of any denomination, according to the Guinness Book of Records . Built in the country’s administrative capital Yamoussoukro between 1986–89, the Catholic basilica’s sprawling exterior measures 322,291 square feet (30,000sqm). It has a capacity for 8,000 seated worshippers inside and can contain crowds of hundreds of thousands on its outside grounds. It was the passion project of then President Felix Houphouet-Boigny and was modeled on the Vatican City’s St Peters.

<p>Got a serious head for heights and an adrenalin craving? Make for the Macau Tower and push yourself to the limit on its record-making bungee jump – it's the world's highest from a commercial building, according to the<em> Guinness Book of Records</em>. The brainchild of New Zealand extreme sport pioneer AJ Hackett, Skypark Macau Tower’s bungee jump sees those who are game leap off a platform at a height of 764 feet (233m) from Macau's lofty tower. In winter you can even make the jump at night. After that, the landmark's other thrilling attractions – the skyjump, skywalk and tower climb – will barely get your heart racing. </p>

Highest commercial bungee jump: Skypark Macau Tower, Macau

Got a serious head for heights and an adrenalin craving? Make for the Macau Tower and push yourself to the limit on its record-making bungee jump – it's the world's highest from a commercial building, according to the  Guinness Book of Records . The brainchild of New Zealand extreme sport pioneer AJ Hackett, Skypark Macau Tower’s bungee jump sees those who are game leap off a platform at a height of 764 feet (233m) from Macau's lofty tower. In winter you can even make the jump at night. After that, the landmark's other thrilling attractions – the skyjump, skywalk and tower climb – will barely get your heart racing. 

<p>Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Park is the world’s most popular theme park – it attracted 17.1 million visitors in 2022, which was still down a few million on pre-COVID years – in 2019, 20.9 million people paid a visit. With the iconic Cinderella’s Castle at its heart, this enchanting attraction in Orlando is packed with thrilling coasters, delightful kids' rides and entertainment at every turn – just make sure you brace yourself for the crowds. If you don't like busy places, this probably won't be the "happiest place on Earth" for you.</p>

Busiest theme park: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, USA

Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Park is the world’s most popular theme park – it attracted 17.1 million visitors in 2022, which was still down a few million on pre-COVID years – in 2019, 20.9 million people paid a visit. With the iconic Cinderella’s Castle at its heart, this enchanting attraction in Orlando is packed with thrilling coasters, delightful kids' rides and entertainment at every turn – just make sure you brace yourself for the crowds. If you don't like busy places, this probably won't be the "happiest place on Earth" for you.

<p>London oozes history and culture so it stands to reason that the city is home to the world’s oldest theater site. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the world’s oldest theater site in continuous use. A dramatist called Thomas Killigrew built the original Theatre Royal in 1663 under a royal charter from King Charles II. It’s here that Nell Gwyn, who later became a long-term mistress of the king, made her stage debut. The original theater burnt down in 1672, a second one was demolished and the third iteration also went up in flames. The fourth and current building opened in 1812. A Grade I listed Regency building, it was designed by architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt.</p>

Oldest theater site in continuous use: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, England, UK

London oozes history and culture so it stands to reason that the city is home to the world’s oldest theater site. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the world’s oldest theater site in continuous use. A dramatist called Thomas Killigrew built the original Theatre Royal in 1663 under a royal charter from King Charles II. It’s here that Nell Gwyn, who later became a long-term mistress of the king, made her stage debut. The original theater burnt down in 1672, a second one was demolished and the third iteration also went up in flames. The fourth and current building opened in 1812. A Grade I listed Regency building, it was designed by architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt.

<p>You'll definitely want to remember which car park you parked in when spending the day on Praia do Cassino Beach in Brazil's seaport of Rio Grande. Covering over 150 miles (241km) of the coast, this is the longest sea beach in the world. The sandy stretch sweeps south to the Chui Stream and Brazil's border with Uruguay. Parts are busy, developed and home to large casinos – hence its name – while other sections are empty and natural. An old rusting shipwreck lies on the sands at one point.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleryextended/65962/things-to-do-on-the-worlds-best-beaches?page=1"><strong>How many of the world's most beautiful beaches have you visited?</strong></a></p>

Biggest beach: Praia do Cassino Beach, Brazil and Uruguay

You'll definitely want to remember which car park you parked in when spending the day on Praia do Cassino Beach in Brazil's seaport of Rio Grande. Covering over 150 miles (241km) of the coast, this is the longest sea beach in the world. The sandy stretch sweeps south to the Chui Stream and Brazil's border with Uruguay. Parts are busy, developed and home to large casinos – hence its name – while other sections are empty and natural. An old rusting shipwreck lies on the sands at one point.

How many of the world's most beautiful beaches have you visited?

<p>Crazy about Christmas? You’ll find all your festive dreams come true as soon as you step through the doors of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Kitsch doesn’t begin to cover the sparkly scenes within what is the largest year-round Christmas store in the world. The vast showroom covers 2.2 acres, while its total grounds measure 27 acres – including three giant Santas, a snowman and Christmas Lane, which is lit up by 100,000 fairy lights every evening. The family-run enterprise, which started in 1945 and has 700 employees in peak season, is clearly onto something as it welcomes two million customers every year.</p>

Largest year-round Christmas store: Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, USA

Crazy about Christmas? You’ll find all your festive dreams come true as soon as you step through the doors of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Kitsch doesn’t begin to cover the sparkly scenes within what is the largest year-round Christmas store in the world. The vast showroom covers 2.2 acres, while its total grounds measure 27 acres – including three giant Santas, a snowman and Christmas Lane, which is lit up by 100,000 fairy lights every evening. The family-run enterprise, which started in 1945 and has 700 employees in peak season, is clearly onto something as it welcomes two million customers every year.

<p>With the creation of its collection dating back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated some bronze statues to the people of Rome, the Capitoline Museums in Rome's Piazza del Campidoglio is often recognized as the world's oldest public museum. Subsequent popes donated priceless treasures too and now this collection of museums is home to an extraordinary array of Roman, medieval and Renaissance sculptures, as well as some paintings. One of its most precious items is a 2nd-century bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback; as well as the Capitoline wolf with Romulus and Remus. Located on Capitol Hill, the museums are completely surrounded by ancient history too.</p>

Oldest public museums: Capitoline Museums, Italy

With the creation of its collection dating back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated some bronze statues to the people of Rome, the Capitoline Museums in Rome's Piazza del Campidoglio is often recognized as the world's oldest public museum. Subsequent popes donated priceless treasures too and now this collection of museums is home to an extraordinary array of Roman, medieval and Renaissance sculptures, as well as some paintings. One of its most precious items is a 2nd-century bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback; as well as the Capitoline wolf with Romulus and Remus. Located on Capitol Hill, the museums are completely surrounded by ancient history too.

<p>If you hate food waste, look away now. Each year in Bunol, near Valencia in Spain, 20,000 people gather to lob around 150,000 kg of tomatoes at each other in the streets during La Tomatina, billed as the world's largest annual food fight. The curious festival has its origins in an innocuous tomato slinging fight that took place at a street parade in 1945 and became a tradition. The now world-famous spectacle is held on the last Wednesday of August and attracts tens of thousands of people every year.</p>

Largest annual food fight: La Tomatina, Spain

If you hate food waste, look away now. Each year in Bunol, near Valencia in Spain, 20,000 people gather to lob around 150,000 kg of tomatoes at each other in the streets during La Tomatina, billed as the world's largest annual food fight. The curious festival has its origins in an innocuous tomato slinging fight that took place at a street parade in 1945 and became a tradition. The now world-famous spectacle is held on the last Wednesday of August and attracts tens of thousands of people every year.

<p>Prepare to be creeped out at this eerie island on Teshuilo Lake in the Xochimilco canals, just south of Mexico City. La Isla de las Munecas — or the Island of Dolls – is a niche record breaker, for sure, but a fascinating one. With around 4,000 sinister and mutilated dolls hanging from trees and covering its buildings, it is home to the biggest collection of haunted dolls in the world. The spooky site is said to have taken shape in the 1950s when a man witnessed a young girl drown. The next day a doll washed up in the same spot, after which he strung up dolls to ward off evil spirits.</p>

Largest collection of haunted dolls: La Isla de las Munecas, Mexico

Prepare to be creeped out at this eerie island on Teshuilo Lake in the Xochimilco canals, just south of Mexico City. La Isla de las Munecas — or the Island of Dolls – is a niche record breaker, for sure, but a fascinating one. With around 4,000 sinister and mutilated dolls hanging from trees and covering its buildings, it is home to the biggest collection of haunted dolls in the world. The spooky site is said to have taken shape in the 1950s when a man witnessed a young girl drown. The next day a doll washed up in the same spot, after which he strung up dolls to ward off evil spirits.

<p>Towering above the basin of the Narmada River and the Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat state, surrounded by the Satpura and Vindhyachal hills, the Statue of Unity depicts independence leader Sardar Vallabhai Patel. It was unveiled in 2018 and cost around $389 million. At 597 feet (182m) it is twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and claimed the record for being the world’s tallest statue from China’s Spring Temple Buddha, which sits at a comparatively piddling 420 feet (128m) high. </p>

World’s tallest statue: The Statue of Unity, India

Towering above the basin of the Narmada River and the Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat state, surrounded by the Satpura and Vindhyachal hills, the Statue of Unity depicts independence leader Sardar Vallabhai Patel. It was unveiled in 2018 and cost around $389 million. At 597 feet (182m) it is twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and claimed the record for being the world’s tallest statue from China’s Spring Temple Buddha, which sits at a comparatively piddling 420 feet (128m) high. 

<p>Established in 1732, Bertrand bookshop in Lisbon is the store of dreams for all bibliophiles. People have come to browse its well-stocked shelves and gather to put the world to rights for hundreds of years. The culture-packed city is full of beautiful bookstores brimming with tomes, but this tile-adorned store on the corners of Rua Garrett and Anchieta in the Chiado district is the oldest of them all – and officially the oldest in the world, according to the<em> Guinness Book of World Records</em>. Take a pew on one of its sofas or in the literary-inspired cafe and drink in its bookish atmosphere.</p>

Oldest bookshop: Livraria Bertrand, Portugal

Established in 1732, Bertrand bookshop in Lisbon is the store of dreams for all bibliophiles. People have come to browse its well-stocked shelves and gather to put the world to rights for hundreds of years. The culture-packed city is full of beautiful bookstores brimming with tomes, but this tile-adorned store on the corners of Rua Garrett and Anchieta in the Chiado district is the oldest of them all – and officially the oldest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records . Take a pew on one of its sofas or in the literary-inspired cafe and drink in its bookish atmosphere.

<p>Measuring almost 753,473 square feet (70,000sqm), hilltop Prague Castle reigns supreme as the largest ancient castle in the world, according to the <em>Guinness Book of Records</em>. It’s also one of the oldest. It was first founded by Prince Bonivoj in the late 9th century. Added to over the centuries, it’s now a dizzying complex of churches, towers, halls, palaces and gardens. It’s an absolute jewel in the picturesque capital’s crown, well deserving of multiple visits. Today it’s home to the Bohemian Crown Jewels, which are locked away in St Vitus Cathedral, and the castle is also the official home of the Czech Republic's president.</p>

Largest ancient castle: Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Measuring almost 753,473 square feet (70,000sqm), hilltop Prague Castle reigns supreme as the largest ancient castle in the world, according to the  Guinness Book of Records . It’s also one of the oldest. It was first founded by Prince Bonivoj in the late 9th century. Added to over the centuries, it’s now a dizzying complex of churches, towers, halls, palaces and gardens. It’s an absolute jewel in the picturesque capital’s crown, well deserving of multiple visits. Today it’s home to the Bohemian Crown Jewels, which are locked away in St Vitus Cathedral, and the castle is also the official home of the Czech Republic's president.

<p>Scale the heights of glamor (both literally and figuratively) at Address Beach Resort in Dubai, a chi-chi high-rise hotel by Jumeirah Beach that’s crowned by the world’s highest outdoor infinity pool. Set 964 feet (294m) up, this stunning swimming spot offers sweeping views from its 77th-floor vantage point. Swimmers (who have to be guests at the hotel) can lap up the eye-popping views of Ain Dubai and the Arabian Gulf and gaze down on skyscrapers as they paddle or pose. There’s plenty of room to do both in this 311 foot-long (95m) pool. </p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/114624/americas-best-swimming-pools?page=1"><strong>Now check out the best swimming pools in the US</strong></a></p>

Highest outdoor infinity pool: Address Beach Resort, UAE

Scale the heights of glamor (both literally and figuratively) at Address Beach Resort in Dubai, a chi-chi high-rise hotel by Jumeirah Beach that’s crowned by the world’s highest outdoor infinity pool. Set 964 feet (294m) up, this stunning swimming spot offers sweeping views from its 77th-floor vantage point. Swimmers (who have to be guests at the hotel) can lap up the eye-popping views of Ain Dubai and the Arabian Gulf and gaze down on skyscrapers as they paddle or pose. There’s plenty of room to do both in this 311 foot-long (95m) pool. 

Now check out the best swimming pools in the US

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What’s New & Coming to Disney World in 2024 & 2025

world new tourist attractions

New rides, restaurants, entertainment, and more is coming to Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025. Here’s what’s rumored and official: construction info, expansion plans, and opening dates so you know what to expect when planning your WDW vacation. ( Updated December 27, 2023 .)

Walt Disney World is now a time in transition in a few different ways. Much of this stems from the conclusion of the 18-month World’s Most Magical Celebration for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. Ahead of that, a number of construction projects were undertaken to add new lands and attractions, all of which have now opened. That celebration is over, the next major development cycle has yet to start, and attendance is decreasing–but that’s also attributable to the exhaustion of pent-up demand.

There’s still a lot happening and on the horizon, including the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration for Disney’s 100th Anniversary (the company as a whole), which is now underway through the end of the year. The other good news is that all of the big new rides are now open and even more is coming in the next 2 years and beyond. If you’d like to have more Walt Disney World news & rumors about what’s on the horizon, sign up for our FREE Walt Disney World Email Newsletter to receive updates .

When it comes to what’s new, several of the biggest things don’t involve construction at all, but rather, are changes to the guest experience. First up is Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, the highly-controversial paid FastPass replacement. This is far and away the most consequential change in the last few years, and it is imperative that you understand this system before visiting. Everything you need to know is covered in our Guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World .

In addition to that, Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours have replaced Extra Magic Hours in the morning and at night. These have their own pros & cons, from being only available to on-site guests (or a subset thereof) to requiring people to get up early or stay late. If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of each, learn more in our Guide to Early Entry at Walt Disney World and Guide to Extended Evening Hours at Walt Disney World .

world new tourist attractions

Another major change occurred when the Disney’s Magical Express airport shuttle service ended. Now, visitors arriving to Orlando International Airport will need to rent a car, use Uber/Lyft, or arrange for an alternative shuttle service via Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine. See our Guide to Airport Transportation for Walt Disney World for the pros & cons of each option.

Speaking of transportation, there was a positive change made with the return of free overnight self-parking for guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels. This fee had been added a few years ago and was a major source of outrage at the time. Free parking is a major distinction that few off-site hotels around Orlando offer.

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Several similar ‘guest experience’ changes are coming in early 2024. All of this is positive news, with the first update being that positive news that  Walt Disney World is effectively ending the Park Pass reservation system  for most tourists in 2024. In addition to that, there will be many “good-to-go days” that Annual Passholders and Cast Members also won’t need park reservations.

On a more surprising note,  advance ride reservations are coming to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World in 2024 . How this will work is unknown and details are incredibly vague, but there have already been a ton of changes to Genie+ in the last few months.

The biggest change of all the  return of the Disney Dining Plans for 2024 . After a long hiatus, 2 of the 4 tiers of the Disney Dining Plan will return; here’s a tentative list of participating restaurants . For now, all we know is that the  paid  version of the DDP will be back…the jury is still out on Free Dining , but we strongly suspect it’ll be back in 2024 .

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As mentioned above, the next big event is the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration, also known as Disney100. EPCOT is the epicenter of the event in Florida, and the festivities will coincide with the conclusion of construction on the park’s central spine. This area in the core of the park (behind Spaceship Earth) has been not-so-lovingly known as the Giant EPCOT Dirt Pit around here for the last 4+ years, and we’re pleased that it’ll finally be filled in.

The 100 Years of Wonder Celebration is now underway at EPCOT. See our Ultimate Guide to the Disney100 Anniversary Event at Walt Disney World for everything you need to know.

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With regard to construction, the good news is that many of the biggest projects are finished or don’t impact the guest experience. This includes the massive Disney’s Hollywood Studios overhaul, Animal Kingdom expansion, and resort development. In fact, 3 of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks are looking good and mostly wall-free.

There’s not nearly as much construction at Walt Disney World right now than any other time in the last 5 years. The only exception is EPCOT, which is a sea of construction walls right now, but won’t be by early 2024.

Here’s a park by park look at everything new and coming soon to Walt Disney World…

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The front of EPCOT is looking good as the reimagined park entrance project is finished. Redesigned landscaping, flags, topiaries, and an iconic prismatic pylon fountain in front of Spaceship Earth have all been installed. These are further enhanced at night by an upgraded lighting package, including the mesmerizing Beacons of Magic synchronized displays.

Between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase, it’s a sea of walls. Still. The work here is currently the largest construction project at Walt Disney World, which results in a lot of visual blight to the front of EPCOT. Basically, the entire center of Future World is enclosed by construction walls right now.

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Not much is going to be built in the Giant EPCOT Dirt Pit™️ above, which will become  CommuniCore Hall & Plaza . This area will be home to trees, an enchanted garden, planter, and festival area. It’ll also feature an outdoor stage, demonstration kitchen, and character meet & greet.

The World Celebration Gardens, consisting of trees and planters, are now open. The closure of Walt Disney World resulted in this overhaul being paused for roughly one full year, with Imagineering going back to the drawing board. Many elements were scaled back, cut entirely, or reworked. The original plans were much more ambitious than simply planting trees and rebuilding a structure they demolished.

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Right behind Spaceship Earth, the Creations Shop and Club Cool are both now open. These were built in the former Innoventions building, where MouseGear was previously located.

On the other side of the building, Connections Cafe & Eatery is also now open in the space that used to house Electric Umbrella. In addition to a counter service restaurant, this is now EPCOT’s permanent Starbucks location. (See our Connections Cafe & Eatery Review for recommendations and photos.)

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The biggest recent addition at EPCOT is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which is a hybrid roller coaster. This blockbuster attraction opened at Walt Disney World at the start of last summer. Cosmic Rewind is awesome– the best new ride at EPCOT in decades.

Experiencing the roller coaster is a bit complicated, so if you want to experience it ( and you should! ), check out our  How to Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind & Virtual Queue Speed Strategy to improve your chances of success for joining the free virtual queue. Another alternative is buying line-skipping access via the  Individual Lightning Lanes .

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Nearby in Future World, Space 220 Restaurant adjacent to Mission: Space is now open. We’ve dined here several times, and share more in Photos & Video Inside Space 220 Restaurant as well as our Space 220 Lunch Review that looks at whether the food is worth the price tag.

At Space 220 Restaurant, guests board a special space elevator that ascends to the stars. Upon arrival, you enjoy a celestial panorama from the space station, with the ability to peer out and enjoy daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up.

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The next project on the horizon in World Discovery is a  Test Track 3.0 Ride Reimagining . Walt Disney World announced at Destination D23 that the attraction will receive an update inspired by World of Motion! That’s exciting news that’s aimed squarely at longtime Walt Disney World fans.

While it remains to be seen exactly what that means, it’s cause for optimism. Test Track 3.0 is a low-floor, high-ceiling kind of project…and one being paid for by someone else, so it’s not even coming at the expense of another (higher priority) Walt Disney World project! Win-win! It sounds like this is fairly early in development, so we’re not expecting it to debut until late 2024 or 2025.

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Another addition at the front of EPCOT is Moana: Journey of Water . This is the first-ever attraction based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film, Moana. This interactive water exploration trail is now open.

Journey of Water is a new walk-through experience located within World Nature – the EPCOT neighborhood dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty and balance of the natural world. It’s a lovely little addition that captures the spirit of EPCOT. See more in our  Photos & Review: Moana’s Journey of Water Exemplifies EPCOT Edutainment!

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Nearby, you’re also able to meet Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse in their Disney100 costumes in the Imagination pavilion. The couple meet in the lobby of the Magic Eye Theater, which is home to the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. (You do not need to watch that in order to see them.)

Also in the Imagination pavilion, you’ll once again find Figment. The not-so-little purple dragon is meeting in the ImageWorks area, which is the exit of Journey into Imagination. You can either ride the attraction and see him on your way out, or enter through the gift shop.  We highly recommend meeting Figment!

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On this same side of the park, Soarin’ Over California is back. Walt Disney World has not confirmed when its run will end, but our guess is it’ll only continue as long as Disney100, meaning it’ll conclude at the end of December 2023.

The OG Soarin’ is better than Soarin’ Over CGI, and I’m really happy that other Disney fans will be able to experience it again for the first time since 2016…or even ever. (We’ve done it many times during its limited engagements at Disney California Adventure, and will happily ride again at EPCOT.)

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Turning to World Showcase, you can currently catch EPCOT Forever every night. These limited-time fireworks will be shown while Walt Disney World’s entertainment team preps the lagoon. A new permanent nighttime, Luminous: Symphony of Us , has now officially debuted.

Check out our Best Fireworks Viewing Locations at EPCOT for recommendations on where to watch. One of our favorite fireworks locations in EPCOT is the Japan pavilion (pictured above), is also home to a new restaurant. Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya has replaced Tokyo Dining, and is now open.

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The newest E-Ticket attraction to open in World Showcase is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This family-friendly trackless dark ride is part of an expansion of the France pavilion.

In addition to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, this area features La Crêperie de Paris. This crêperie offers both table and quick-service options featuring a menu from celebrity chef Jerome Bocuse.

Magic Kingdom

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Next up is Magic Kingdom, where Happily Ever After is now back and being performed nightly. The beloved nighttime spectacular features enhancements, such as projections on Main Street and more. Walt Disney World fans love  Happily Ever After and are coming out in full force to see it.

Our  Viewing Guide to the Happily Ever After Fireworks at Magic Kingdom   covers the best & worst spots to see the nighttime spectacular. Perhaps most importantly, it shares a few great low-crowds locations for those who don’t want to be in the crush of crowds. (Seriously, don’t underestimate the chaos and congestion, which can be downright uncomfortable, especially for those with strollers or ECVs.)

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Magic Kingdom is also home to the biggest and newest ride at Walt Disney World: TRON Lightcycle Run Roller Coaster in Tomorrowland behind Space Mountain. The Walt Disney World Railroad, which was previously closed due to TRON construction, has also returned.

TRON Lightcycle Run is already proving to be one of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World, and is relatively unique in NOT offering a traditional standby line. See our Virtual Queue Strategy Guide for TRON Lightcycle Run for how to experience the attraction for free. As with Cosmic Rewind, you can also purchase Individual Lightning Lane line-skipping access.

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With that said, neither the free nor the paid option is simple or straightforward. There are two times to join the virtual queue–one is early in the morning and the other is in the afternoon–and both fill up within seconds . Buying Lightning Lane access is slightly easier, at least if you’re staying on-site. To that end, read our  Ride Review: Is TRON Lightcycle Run Worth Your Time or Money?  to determine if the hassle or expensive is justified.

Finally, there TRON Lightcycle Run has some issues with larger guests not fitting into the ride vehicles due to weight, height, and more. If you’re tall, have muscular legs, or are plus-sized, you might  have issues with the normal lightcycles. We cover everything you need to know in  TRON Lightcycle Run Problems for Larger Guests . If you think you could have problems fitting into the lightcycle, we’d strongly recommend reading that. Not only does it cover common issues, but also suggestions for improving your chances of ‘successfully’ riding the attraction in a standard seat.

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Magic Kingdom has “plussed” Haunted Mansion with the addition of the Hatbox Ghost . You may recognize this popular character from the attraction at Disneyland.

This Audio Animatronics ghost has materialized in a different spot than his California counterpart–and one that’s controversial among fans. Nevertheless, it’s cool to see Hatbox Ghost at Walt Disney World, and that Haunted Mansion continues to receive refreshes from Imagineering.

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Speaking of the classics, a  Pirates of the Caribbean Tavern is coming at some point to Adventureland (near the attraction). Expect this to be like Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, except themed to pirates.

It’ll be an intimate setting, featuring the Barker Bird Audio Animatronics figure. No timeline has been given, but we expect this to debut in 2024.

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Another nearby classic is receiving a reimagining:  Country Bear Musical Jamboree . The new show is coming in 2024, the Bear Band will be reinterpreting favorite Disney songs in different genres of country music. Imagineers are envisioning the new experience as a homage to the classic musical revues in Nashville and they’re working with Nashville musicians to get the authentic country sound.

The Country Bear Jamboree will still have the fun and friendly tone fans enjoy with the same famous characters like the loveable Trixie, Big Al and others. Here’s a look at the concert-style poster art Imagineering created to promote the reimagined Country Bear Musical Jamboree:

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Following that, there’s the Princess and the Frog reimagining of Splash Mountain at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland . The name of the new attraction evolving from the reimagining of Splash Mountain is Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. The reimagined ride will bring guests into the world of “The Princess and the Frog” after the events of the movie. According to Disney, the reimagined ride will open at Magic Kingdom in Florida and Disneyland in California in late 2024.

As a result, Splash Mountain is now closed at Walt Disney World. The ride went down in early 2023, and work is already apparent on the exterior of the attraction as elements are removed or modified. The late 2024 deadline for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a tight turnaround time for Imagineering, especially given how drawn out recent projects have been. Hopefully creatives are given the time and budget necessary to make this good!

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After Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is finished, it  appears  that Walt Disney World will turn its attention to that ride’s neighbor. At last year’s D23 Expo, the company shared a variety of Villains, Encanto, and Coco Concepts for “Beyond Big Thunder.” Given what we now know about the Animal Kingdom plans (below), Encanto and maybe Coco are now probably off the table for that.

It’s premature to get excited about any of these, as these are only ideas being thrown around at this point, and a final proposal for the plot has not yet been decided. The salient point is not the specifics–it’s that Walt Disney World intends upon building a major expansion on par with New Fantasyland.

Animal Kingdom

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There’s not really anything major on the horizon for Disney’s Animal Kingdom that’s official, nor is there much that’s new.

The only official thing is Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond, which is a reimagined version of Finding Nemo: The Musical. The show is substantially similar, but it’s a tighter production with a shorter runtime. Still has the songs and puppets that made the musical a winner!

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What else is next for Animal Kingdom is unclear. Primeval Whirl permanently closed and the company has confirmed that what’s currently Dino-Rama is the next big expansion site at Walt Disney World. They’ve also officially announced that the replacement will be the  Tropical Americas at Animal Kingdom .

What’s still not 100% confirmed is what this area will feature. Walt Disney World has teased  Encanto  and  Indiana Jones concepts that are supposedly just “under consideration.” It’s our understanding that they’re a done deal, and the above concept art is what will be built. But that’s not official until Disney confirms it, and even then, recent official projects have been cancelled even after construction started. So it’s really not a sure thing until construction commences beyond the point of no return, so to speak.

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The other thing we know for sure is that a  Zootopia Tree of Life Show is replacing It’s Tough to Be a Bug. This is significant not just on its own, but also because this effectively takes Zootopia Land out of play for Animal Kingdom. Our expectation is that this debuts in Late 2024, but no timeframe has been given.

Pessimistically, it’s likely that Tropical Americas replacing Dinoland will take much longer. Walt Disney World has slowed and stretched out construction timelines, and already has projects lined up between now and Late 2024. The company’s conservative approach and lethargic pace doesn’t instill confidence that anything with Dino-Rama is opening before 2026. But we shall see!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to the only seasonal addition for the remainder of the year, with the Jollywood Nights Christmas Party . Considered a more adult counterpart to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, Jollywood Nights features sparkling décor, big band beats of classic holiday songs, craft cocktails & decadent dishes, and much more.

Other additions for the holiday season will include a new Frozen show and a few minor enhancements. See our  Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World   for everything you need to know.

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The next addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is in Toy Story Land. Due to its popularity and crowds, this area has already received minor expansions in the form of a gift shop and covered seating area.

The latest of these is the Toy Story Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant , which is now open. This table service restaurant serves family style, all-you-can-eat barbecue, and is incredibly popular.

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A lot has happened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the last several years. At the front of the park, you’ll find Mickey & Mickey’s Runaway Railway, which was inspired by cartoon shorts and brings guests through the screen to take a ride inside a zany cartoon world.

We enjoy this family-friendly attraction. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but it’s a solid addition. Additionally, the Mickey Shorts Theater has debuted and is playing an original short film in the style of the popular Disney Channel animated series “Mickey Mouse.”

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Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is also now a few years old, and is the biggest addition to Walt Disney World in about a decade. The first phase included all shops, dining, and the Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run ride.

That was followed by Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the flagship attraction of Galaxy’s Edge. As we covered in our spoiler-free review , this ride is absolutely worth the wait. It’s one of Walt Disney World’s top 5 attractions, and the best thing added to Walt Disney World in at least 25 years.

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In the last year, there have been other additions to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The first of these is Batuu Bounty Hunters, an interactive game that can be played with the MagicBand+ and Play Disney Parks app.

Speaking of which, the MagicBand+ is another relatively new addition to Walt Disney World. This is a mixed bag, which you can read all about in our MagicBand+ Review: The Good, Bad & Ugly! Whether you should buy one really hinges upon whether you want to play Batuu Bounty Hunters, hence it being “buried” here.

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Two other big new additions to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda walk-around characters who meet and greet guests. The dynamic duo does not have specific appearance times, nor do they have a dedicated location. You’re most likely to spot them around Black Spire Outpost between 10 am and 5 pm.

The Mandalorian and Grogu are insanely popular  and usually mobbed by guests. If you want the best chance to see them with the lowest possible crowds, be in Galaxy’s Edge as close to 10 am as possible.

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On another Star Wars note, Ahsoka will become part of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris in Spring 2024.

It’s nice to see Star Tours continuing to get love even after Galaxy’s Edge, and the new destinations have all been really well done. There’s much less demand for Star Tours these days, but do not sleep on it. The attraction is still fantastic–and fresh!

Disney Springs

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Then there’s Disney Springs. This is the entertainment and shopping district previously known as Downtown Disney. Producing a comprehensive list of what has opened here in the last ~5 years would be daunting, as around 75% of this area has been overhauled.

Cirque du Soleil: Drawn to Life is the most recent entertainment offering to debut, performing in iconic white circus tent on the Westside. In addition to that, Salt & Straw scoop shop has opened, as has Gideon’s Bakehouse. There are also a bunch of new stores, from M&M’s to Corkcicle to Lululemon.

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In terms of major additions, Summer House on the Lake has been built on the site that was slated for Beatrix. This California coastal cuisine in a modern setting actually looks better than Beatrix to us. Summer House on the Lake is now open!

Another new Disney Springs restaurant is EET by Maneet Chauhan , a modern Indian restaurant that replaced Wolfgang Puck Express location in the Marketplace. We’re really looking forward to this one, which is also now open.

WDW Resort Hotels

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Two resorts opened at Walt Disney World within the last few years. The first of these was Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Our review of this property was mixed , with our ultimate conclusion being that it offered strong bang for buck and was very appealing for a certain type of traveler.

Next, Disney’s Riviera Resort is the latest DVC Resort. This property is adjacent to Caribbean Beach and offers direct Skyliner access to EPCOT. Our Disney’s Riviera Resort Review covers the pros & cons of these Disney Vacation Club accommodations.

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This DVC resort, along with Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, and Art of Animation are connected to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios via the recently-added Disney Skyliner gondola system, which opened a few years ago.

For all of the basics and our full thoughts, read our Skyliner Gondola Review: Walt Disney World’s Most Magical Flight on Earth article. We’d go as far as recommending a Skyliner resort for your next trip to Walt Disney World, as it offers a huge advantage in terms of transportation.

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Throughout 2024, several resorts are undergoing refurbishment, construction, and expansion projects.  We would recommend consulting our list of Construction & Refurbishments at Walt Disney World Hotels in 2024 , which we update regularly for insight into changes at existing hotels.

With that said, two of the biggest projects are occurring outside Magic Kingdom along the monorail loop. See  Grand Floridian Resort Reimagining News & Construction Updates and  New Tower at Polynesian Village Resort: Timeline, Details & Construction Progress for the latest on those projects.

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As you can probably tell, there is a lot that’s new and coming soon to Walt Disney World in the next few years.

With that said, don’t fret too much about the construction–even with an unprecedented amount, must of its out-of-the-way of guest areas, and there are still a ton of attractions to do at Walt Disney World no matter when you visit!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews . To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

Which attractions coming to Walt Disney World in 2024 or beyond are you most excited to experience? Are you delaying your next visit to maximize seeing ‘new stuff’ or moving it forward to avoid the crowds? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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Written by Tom Bricker

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“(Rise of the Resistance) is one of Walt Disney World’s top 5 attractions, and the best thing added to Walt Disney World in at least 25 years.” Seriously? Although impressive in scale, it is almost TOO big. I’ve ridden it a few times but haven’t felt immersed in it at all. I’ll take Avatar-Flight of Passage any day! Frankly, of the trackless rides, I enjoyed Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway more that ROTR.

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To each their own, I guess.

Out of all the new attractions, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one I still absolutely love doing and can’t get enough of. For what it’s worth, I feel the same way about Flight of Passage and Cosmic Rewind–but not MMRR or Ratatouille (or pretty much anything else).

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Look up next time you ride MMRR. You will be pulled right out of the immersion as the entire ceiling is unfinished with piping, lighting fixtures etc. Same thing at Remy. This whole unfinished, open type ceiling look is one I do not like. It makes the ride look cheap.

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Eagerly awaiting the blog about D23 predictions….

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I hope we have seen the last of the uninspired hotel tower expansions. The Grand Destino tower is excellent. The Riviera DVC resort was marginal but Okay. But, the Swan Reserve is disgusting – a traditional airport hotel placed next to the high concept designs of the Swan and Dolphin. I didn’t think it could get worse until Disney squeezed the new Polynesian DVC tower between the resort and the wedding pavilion. That building is truly awful. But, the winner for worst tower is clearly the new Disneyland DVC tower. There is absolutely no thematic synergy between the new tower and the blue-glass hotel towers. What has Imagineering been thinking?

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Any idea when Disney will be taking resort reservations for 2024?

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last year bookings opened in early June 2022 for 2023. most people are predicting sometime similar for 2024. Im waiting to book 2024 too.

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“Here’s what’s next after the 50th Anniversary celebration concludes next year.”

“…Cosmic Rewind, which is a hybrid roller coaster. This blockbuster attraction opened at Walt Disney World earlier this year…”

Just caught a few missed updates above. Otherwise this is so handy. I actually didn’t realize that ‘Beyond Big Thunder’ was intended to rework Thunder Mountain! I know it probably should have been obvious in the name, but I really thought they were talking about the empty land ‘beyond Big Thunder’ Mountain…

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Meh. I was a huge Disney Park enthusiast for 40 years. Last trip with my family with kids in their early 20’s, the magic is really gone, especially looking at the total overall cost now. It’s no coincidence Bob Iger recently confirmed he thought the pricing hikes/structures implemented in recent years were “overly aggressive.” Disney Parks are no longer “accessible” financially to the non-loal Middle Class family in my opinion. And I’m sure Walt would be disappointed about that.

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Hi Tom! Thanks for the updates! I have a question. On the “Frequently asked questions” section on the Disney world site, it states that “Guests can either purchase the Disney Genie+ bundle for a variety of attractions or purchase and schedule an individual arrival time at some of our most highly demanded attractions (subject to availability).” What is a Genie+ bundle? I hope its a bundle of fast pass tickets with a theme or pick three option like the old fast pass +. That would potentially fix many complaints and concerns we all have about getting up at 7 am on vacation and choosing one ride at a time. I have to say, that I still am confused about how genie+ works. Thanks!

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We’ve just had 2 weeks over here. Absolutely love Florida and first time back since the pandemic. Found WDW all about money – kind of lacked the magic I remembered as a kid. We’ve had to book our reservations but could still buy tickets on the day? Didn’t quite get that one. The parks were overcrowded and queue times put us off going. A positive is the new Guardians ride at Epcot. Wow. Unbelievable ride and the theming is fantastic, liked the idea of the virtual Q, however didn’t like constantly getting a notification asking me to bypass the virtual Q and upgrade to lightning lane? We went to universal and got on 12 rides in one day. Went to Hollywood Studios and got on 3?

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Just been in October 22. We’re huge fans, it’s our happy place, but honestly the lightening lanes have made it a two tier experience now. Rich/poor. Queue times are crazy and MK is constantly overcrowded. Also MK is becoming like a museum. The old rides are lovely, but tomorrow land particularly is too dated now. Food and merchandise are horrifically expensive . Basically whatever Disney have ‘given’ you in dining or merch dollars they are simply recovering with crazy prices. That fine line with premium experience/cost value has been well overstepped now. Gone too far. It’s all about the $$$ now.

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I agree with Mark. As Tom has said, “Vote with your pocketbooks.” I’m a former Disneyland cast member (from back in the 60s in the “Walt” era), Honeymooned with my wife for 3 weeks at WDW some years back (wonderful!), have been back to both Parks multiple time in the intervening years, and recently booked 10 days at WDW at the beginning of this December. The we looked at the cost. Over $9,000 NOT including meals or travel from California. We just looked at each other and decided to cancel. We could do a couple of trips to Europe for that. It’s just too much. And any new attractions take years and years to develop. I’m running out of life time. I won’t see many new ones. Sigh… A Long Standing Disneyphile Driven Away (sorry Walt, tried to uphold your dream)…

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1975 was the first time I visited Disney World and loved it so much, I later took my children and grand children. I currently live 10 minutes from MK and now avoid the place. Disney World has become one big crowded, unfriendly money grab. We still go to Disney Springs, Sea World and Universal Studios but done with Disney World for now. I still have great memories from all those years when the parks were not that crowded, price fair and employees friendly.

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We still love Disney and Universal is great especially Harry Potter Areas. We have not been going back to Sea World. I understand why but getting rid of the shows makes it seem like why go that was what Sea World was…..go see Shamu. Not Sea World seems like they just want to put in more roller coasters and be another 6 Flags.

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Between the cost of the tickets, food, ridiculous social correctness and hotels…. a 30 year veteran to Disney World is hanging it up!

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You mean social progress. Sounds like you’re an old white guy longing for the 1950’s.

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He sounds like he’s tired of dull vanilla bull for profit…nobody cares about progress…disney is in it for the money and selling to as many people as they possibly can..once they take your money they will be on to the next “new” trend…

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We move out trip to December to be there for my Birthday.

We HOPING Dining plan comes back!!! Dining plan is our MAIN DELAY cause we love the Nicer places like LeCellier, California grill etc

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I love this blog and read it regularly.

Have you guys tried the Meta Quest 2 Virtual Reality Experience Featuring ILMxLAB’s Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge at Disney Springs? I got a blurb about it in my Passholder email and I am wondering if it’s worth heading over there. They discuss how there’s no advance reservations and they have a queue system, etc. Some actual reviewing by trusted bloggers would be massively appreciated.

Thanks for everything!

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Could you comment on why park passes are already unavailable for Hollywood Studios October 10-14, 2022?

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I wish that Disney World would take down Blizzard Park and build a new water park in its place. The snow doesn’t fit Orlando , Fl. I don’t want to be reminded that its winter when I come to the water park. Disney still has the best water park but Universal is nice too.

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Can’t keep up the fight and booked a trip for early November. Will the old Magic Bands still work in lieu of the new $29.99 Magic Bands? Thinking our family buys one new MB to try out and those family members that lose the Magic Band games (challenges to be determined) wear the old ones from our 2019 trip. Seriously, will the old bands still work? Another potential money maker for Disney if they shut the old ones down. Realize we can also get cards from our hotel or use Magic Mobile but what’s the fun in that? Thanks!

The old bands will still work! I’ve used my same magic bands for dozens of trips at this point. As long as your upcoming tickets and hotel are linked in your My Disney Experience, (and provided you set up your bands in there previously too), then it’ll all be a pretty seamless process when you arrive.

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Constructive feedback: it’s often difficult to know what’s been updated in articles like this unless one reads the entire article.

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UN Tourism | Bringing the world closer

International Tourism to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2024

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International Tourism to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2024

  • All Regions
  • 19 Jan 2024

Following a strong 2023, international tourism is well on track to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

According to the first UNWTO World Tourism Barometer of the year, international tourism ended 2023 at 88% of pre-pandemic levels , with an estimated 1.3 billion international arrivals . The unleashing of remaining pent-up demand, increased air connectivity, and a stronger recovery of Asian markets and destinations, are expected to underpin a full recovery by the end of 2024.

Middle East, Europe and Africa performed strongest in 2023

The latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer provides a comprehensive overview of the sector's performance in 2023, tracking recovery by global region, sub-region and destination. Key takeaways include:

  • The Middle East led recovery in relative terms as the only region to overcome pre-pandemic levels with arrivals 22% above 2019.
  • Europe , the world's most visited region, reached 94% of 2019 levels, supported by intra-regional demand and travel from the United States.
  • Africa recovered 96% of pre-pandemic visitors and Americas reached 90%.
  • Asia and the Pacific reached 65% of pre-pandemic levels following the reopening of several markets and destinations. However, performance is mixed, with South Asia already recovering 87% of 2019 levels and North-East Asia around 55%. 

International Tourist Arrivals (% change over 2019)

Available data shows several destinations, including both large, established destinations as well as small and emerging ones, reporting double-digit growth in international arrivals in 2023 when compared to 2019. Four sub-regions exceeded their 2019 arrival levels: Southern Mediterranean Europe, Caribbean, Central America and North Africa.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: "The latest UNWTO data underscores tourism's resilience and rapid recovery, with pre-pandemic numbers expected by the end of 2024. The rebound is already having a significant impact on economies, jobs, growth and opportunities for communities everywhere. These numbers also recall the critical task of progressing sustainability and inclusion in tourism development"

International tourism hit US$1.4 trillion in 2023

The latest UNWTO data also highlights the economic impact of recovery.

  • International tourism receipts reached USD 1.4 trillion in 2023 according to preliminary estimates, about 93% of the USD 1.5 trillion earned by destinations in 2019.
  • Total export revenues from tourism (including passenger transport) are estimated at USD 1.6 trillion in 2023, almost 95% of the USD 1.7 trillion recorded in 2019.
  • Preliminary estimates on the economic contribution of tourism, measured in tourism direct gross domestic product (TDGDP) point to USD 3.3 trillion in 2023, or 3% of global GDP. This indicates a recovery of pre-pandemic TDGDP driven by strong domestic and international tourism.

Several destinations reported strong growth in international tourism receipts during the first ten to twelve months of 2023, exceeding in some cases growth in arrivals. Strong demand for outbound travel was also reported by several large source markets this period, with many exceeding 2019 levels.

The sustained recovery is also reflected in the performance of industry indicators. According to the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker, both international air capacity and passenger demand recovered about 90% of pre-pandemic levels through October 2023 (IATA). Global occupancy rates in accommodation establishments reached 65% in November, slightly above 62% in November 2022 (based on STR data).

Looking Ahead to 2024

International tourism is expected to fully recover pre-pandemic levels in 2024, with initial estimates pointing to 2% growth above 2019 levels. This central forecast by UNWTO remains subject to the pace of recovery in Asia and to the evolution of existing economic and geopolitical downside risks.  

The positive outlook is reflected in the latest UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index survey, with 67% of tourism professionals indicating better or much better prospects for 2024 compared to 2023. Some 28% expect similar performance, while only 6% expect tourism performance in 2024 to be worse than last year. Key considerations include:

  • There is still significant room for recovery across Asia. The reopening of several source markets and destinations will boost recovery in the region and globally.
  • Chinese outbound and inbound tourism is expected to accelerate in 2024, due to visa facilitation and improved air capacity. China is applying visa-free travel for citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia for a year to 30 November 2024.
  • Visa and travel facilitation measures will promote travel to and around the Middle East and Africa with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to implement a unified tourist visa, similar to the Schengen visa, and measures to facilitate intra-African travel in Kenya and Rwanda.
  • Europe is expected to drive results again in 2024. In March, Romania and Bulgaria will join the Schengen area of free movement, and Paris will host the Summer Olympics in July and August.
  • Strong travel from the United States, backed by a strong US dollar, will continue to benefit destinations in the Americas and beyond. As in 2023, robust source markets in Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, will continue to fuel tourism flows and spending around the world.
  • Economic and geopolitical headwinds continue to pose significant challenges to the sustained recovery of international tourism and confidence levels. Persisting inflation, high interest rates, volatile oil prices and disruptions to trade can continue to impact transport and accommodations costs in 2024.
  • Against this backdrop, tourists are expected to increasingly seek value for money and travel closer to home. Sustainable practices and adaptability will also play an increasing role in consumer choice. 
  • Staff shortages remain a critical issue, as tourism businesses face a shortfall in labor to cope with high demand.
  • The evolution of the Hamas-Israel conflict may disrupt travel in the Middle East and impact traveler confidence. Uncertainty derived from the Russian aggression against Ukraine as well as other mounting geopolitical tensions, continue to weigh on confidence.

Related links

  • Download the News Release on PDF
  • World Tourism Barometer | EXCERPT | Volume 22 • Issue 1 • January 2024
  • World Tourism Barometer | PPT Version | Volume 22 • Issue 1 • January 2024
  • UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker
  • UNWTO World Tourism Barometer
  • UNWTO Tourism Data Dashboard

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Travel Lingual

50 Best New York Tourist Attractions

Rosalia Ignatova

Rosalia Ignatova - Travel Writer

Last Updated: January 4, 2024

Hey! Howdy, I'm Rose! Check out the ultimate guide to the top 50 New York tourist attractions in 2024, featuring stunning photos curated based on my personal experiences in this incredible city. Start planning your trip in advance to make the most out of your time and have an unforgettable adventure in the Big Apple!

world new tourist attractions

New York City is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world, with an endless array of activities for tourists and locals alike. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there's always something new to discover in the Big Apple.

In this article, we'll be exploring the 50 best fun tourist attractions in New York City , USA, from iconic landmarks to hidden gems like quirky museums and foodie hotspots. So grab your walking shoes and get ready to explore the city that never sleeps.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Central Park

Top Choice Hotel

The St. Regis New York

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Eleven Madison Park

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Spring or autumn for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Average Temperature

Varies based on season, generally ranging from 30-80°F.

Transportation Options

subway, bus, taxi, bike, ferry, walking, rideshare, car

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)

My Top Recommendation

When it comes to New York City, the possibilities are endless! One of my top recommendations for a truly personal experience is to start your day with a walk through Central Park. As you explore the lush greenery and picturesque paths, take a moment to sit on one of the benches and people-watch. It's a fantastic way to feel the vibrant energy of the city while also finding a peaceful escape. Afterward, head over to the bustling streets of Times Square. Bright lights, towering billboards, and the constant buzz of activity create a truly unique atmosphere. Grab a slice of authentic New York pizza from one of the many nearby pizzerias and enjoy your lunch while immersing yourself in the iconic New York City ambiance.

For an evening filled with culture and history, I highly recommend visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Explore the vast collections of art, from ancient to contemporary, and marvel at renowned masterpieces. The museum offers a captivating journey through different eras and cultures, allowing you to discover new perspectives and artistic beauty. Afterward, walk along the High Line, an elevated park built on an old railroad track. Stroll above the city streets, surrounded by greenery and art installations, and enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline. It's an incredible way to end your day in New York City, blending nature, art, and architecture into an unforgettable personal experience.

What You'll Need to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Lightweight and breathable clothing
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • A map or smartphone with navigation apps
  • Portable charger or extra batteries for your electronic devices
  • Travel adaptor for your electronic devices
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Necessary medications and a first aid kit
  • Money or credit cards for expenses.

New York City is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that offers a wide range of attractions and activities. To make the most of your visit, it is important to bring comfortable walking shoes as you will likely do a lot of exploring on foot. The city can get quite busy, so lightweight and breathable clothing will help keep you comfortable throughout the day. Don't forget to protect yourself from the sun by packing sunscreen and sunglasses.

As New York City is quite large and can be confusing to navigate, it's a good idea to bring a map or have navigation apps on your smartphone. Additionally, bringing a portable charger or extra batteries will ensure your electronic devices don't run out of power while you're out and about. It's also worth noting that the electrical outlets in the United States may be different from those in your home country, so a travel adaptor is essential.

Staying hydrated is important, especially during the warmer months, so having a reusable water bottle will come in handy. Don't forget to bring your travel insurance documents and any necessary medications, as well as a small first aid kit for emergencies. Finally, be sure to bring money or credit cards for expenses as you explore all that New York City has to offer.

What Not to Miss

Central Park, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Broadway shows, Metropolitan Museum of Art, High Line, One World Observatory, 9/11 Memorial and Museum

What to Avoid

  • Crowded tourist attractions.
  • Rush hour traffic.
  • Unlicensed street vendors.
  • Walking alone in unfamiliar neighborhoods at night.
  • Falling for tourist scams or pickpocketing.
  • Overpriced souvenir shops in popular areas.
  • Visiting during extreme weather conditions.
  • Drinking tap water from public fountains.
  • Engaging with aggressive street performers.
  • Ignoring local laws and regulations.

Table of Contents

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1. Statue of Liberty

world new tourist attractions

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable and beloved landmarks in New York City, and for good reason. This iconic statue stands on Liberty Island, welcoming visitors to the city and symbolizing freedom and opportunity.

Visitors can take a ferry to Liberty Island and climb to the top of the pedestal or even the crown for breathtaking views of the city skyline and harbor. The statue also houses a museum that chronicles its history and significance, making it an educational and inspiring experience.

2. Times Square

world new tourist attractions

Times Square is a bustling commercial and entertainment hub in the heart of New York City. It's famous for its bright lights, billboards, and buzzing energy.

Visitors come to Times Square to experience the excitement of Broadway shows , explore the shops and restaurants, and take in the iconic New Year's Eve ball drop. It's a must-visit for anyone looking for a taste of the city's vibrant energy

3. Empire State Building

world new tourist attractions

The Empire State Building is an iconic New York landmark. Rising to a height of 1,454 feet (443 meters), the building was completed in 1931 and held the title of the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years.

Visitors can take an elevator ride to the 86th or 102nd-floor observation decks for breathtaking views of the city and beyond. The iconic Empire State Building also houses exhibits and historical displays that chronicle its construction and significance, making it an educational and inspiring experience

4. Brooklyn Bridge

world new tourist attractions

The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic suspension bridge that spans the East River and connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. Completed in 1883, Brooklyn Bridge was the world's longest suspension bridge at the time of its construction and remains a remarkable feat of engineering and design.

Visitors can walk or bike across Brooklyn Bridge, enjoying stunning views of the city skyline , East River, and harbor along the way. The Gothic arches and cable-stayed design of Brooklyn Bridge make it a breathtaking sight to behold. Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic images of NYC.

5. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

world new tourist attractions

The Museum of Modern Art , commonly known as MOMA , is a must-visit destination in New York City. MOMA is home to an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, featuring works by world-renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali.

The museum is also a city landmark and is easily recognizable by its iconic glass façade. A visit to MOMA is a unique opportunity to explore some of the most significant art movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Cubism, Surrealism, and Pop Art.

6. Central Park

world new tourist attractions

Central Park is New York's most beloved park and a top destination for tourists and locals alike. It covers 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan and is home to several iconic attractions such as the Central Park Zoo , Bethesda Fountain, and the famous Central Park Conservatory Garden .

There are plenty of things to do in Central Park . The park offers a wide range of activities and amenities, including jogging paths, biking trails, picnic areas, and boating lakes. Visitors can also attend various events and concerts throughout the year or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the park.

7. Carnegie Hall

world new tourist attractions

Carnegie Hall in Midtown Manhattan is one of the most prestigious concert venues in the world. The historic building has hosted some of the most iconic performances by renowned musicians and performers since its opening in 1891.

The hall's unparalleled acoustics and grandeur make it a perfect setting for a wide range of musical genres, including classical, jazz, and world music. Carnegie Hall is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the grandeur and elegance of one of New York City's most iconic cultural landmarks.

8. Broadway and the Theater District

world new tourist attractions

Broadway and the Theater District in New York are synonymous with the best of live entertainment, offering a wide range of shows, from classic musicals to cutting-edge plays. Broadway productions draw visitors from all over the world.

The area's lively atmosphere and bustling streets add to the excitement of watching a Broadway show . Whether you're a theater buff or just looking for a fun night out, a visit to Broadway and the Theater District is a must to experience the best of live entertainment in the city.

9. Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck

world new tourist attractions

Rockefeller Center and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck offer stunning views of the New York skyline from one of the city's most iconic landmarks. 

Visitors to the Rockefeller Center can take an elevator ride to the top for breathtaking views of the city, with the Empire State Building and other famous landmarks visible in the distance.

The complex is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and seasonal attractions , including the famous ice skating rink and Christmas tree during the holiday season. 

A visit to Rockefeller Center is a must to experience the beauty and excitement of one of New York City's most beloved destinations.

10. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

world new tourist attractions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art , or the Met , is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive art museums, with over 2 million works in its permanent collection spanning 5,000 years of world culture.

Visitors can explore galleries featuring art from ancient Egypt, Europe, Asia, and beyond , as well as special exhibitions and events. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's impressive collection of art and artifacts, coupled with its beautiful architecture and stunning views of Central Park, make it a must-visit for anyone interested in art and culture.

11. New York's Guggenheim

world new tourist attractions

New York's Guggenheim Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The museum is known for its distinctive architecture, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and its extensive collection of modern and contemporary art.

Visitors to the Guggenheim can see world-famous works by artists such as Picasso, Kandinsky, and Warhol . Visitors can take a guided tour or explore this iconic New York City landmark at their own pace, taking in the vibrant and eclectic artwork on display.

12. One World Observatory at the One World Trade Center

world new tourist attractions

The One World Observatory at the One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan offers panoramic views of the city from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Visitors can take an elevator ride to the top of the 104-story skyscraper, where they can enjoy unobstructed views of the city from above.

The One World Observatory also features interactive exhibits and displays that showcase the history and significance of the building and the financial district. A visit to the One World Trade Center is a must for anyone looking to experience the breathtaking beauty and resilience of New York City.

13. Fifth Avenue

world new tourist attractions

Fifth Avenue is one of New York City's most iconic streets, renowned for its ****high-end shopping ****and cultural landmarks. Running through the heart of Manhattan, from Washington Square Park to the Upper East Side, it offers a unique blend of historic elegance and contemporary style.

Visitors can experience the glamor of department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman , explore the awe-inspiring St. Patrick's Cathedral or the majestic Metropolitan Museum of Art, and enjoy stunning views of Central Park.

14. Greenwich Village

world new tourist attractions

Greenwich Village is a vibrant and historic neighborhood in the heart of downtown Manhattan. It's known for its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, bars, and cultural landmarks. The streets of Greenwich Village are lined with charming brownstones and tree-lined blocks that offer a glimpse into the rich history of the neighborhood.

Visitors to Greenwich Village can explore Washington Square Park , a popular spot for picnics and people-watching, or visit the legendary jazz club, the Village Vanguard. The neighborhood is also home to some of the best restaurants in New York City, with a diverse range of cuisines and styles to suit every taste.

15. Madison Square Garden

world new tourist attractions

Madison Square Garden is a legendary indoor arena in Midtown Manhattan and is known for hosting some of the biggest entertainment events in the world. It has hosted countless memorable concerts, including performances by the Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Billy Joel.

The venue also hosts professional sports games, such as NBA, NHL, and boxing matches . Visitors can catch a game or a concert, or even take a behind-the-scenes tour of the arena to learn about its storied history.

16. Ellis Island

world new tourist attractions

Ellis Island is a historic landmark located in New York Harbor, known as the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, Ellis Island serves as a powerful and poignant reminder of the immigrant experience in America.

Visitors to Ellis Island can explore the museum showcasing the stories of individual immigrants and their journeys to America , and learn about the complex history of immigration in the United States.

The restored Great Hall and registry room at Ellis Island offer a glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of those who came to America seeking a better life.

17. Staten Island

world new tourist attractions

Staten Island is a borough of New York City with a relaxed and suburban atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry and ****explore the borough's many beaches. The Staten Island Ferry provides stunning views of landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty.

Nature lovers can explore the green parks and trails of the Staten Island Greenbelt . History buffs can visit the Staten Island Museum, which showcases the borough's rich cultural and artistic heritage. Foodies can indulge in some of the best pizza and Italian cuisine in the city, as well as other ethnic specialties like Sri Lankan and Polish cuisine.

18. New York Botanical Garden

world new tourist attractions

The New York Botanical Garden is a beautiful green space located in the Bronx, covering over 250 acres. It is home to a vast collection of plants, including rare and endangered species, and a wide range of natural habitats, from tropical rainforests to native woodlands.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the many gardens and landscapes, including the serene Japanese Garden and the colorful Perennial Garden , or attend one of the many educational programs and events hosted at the Garden throughout the year.

19. Radio City Music Hall

world new tourist attractions

Radio City Music Hall is an iconic theater and entertainment venue located in the heart of New York City at the Rockefeller Center. Built in 1932, the Art Deco-style venue is renowned for its stunning architecture and historic significance.

Today, Radio City Music Hall continues to host big concerts, comedy shows, theatrical productions, and award ceremonies . Visitors can take a tour of the venue to learn about its rich history and see the impressive interiors, including the famous Grand Foyer, the auditorium, and the stage.

20. American Museum of Natural History

world new tourist attractions

The American Museum of Natural History in NYC is one of the largest and most renowned museums in the world. Its collection features over 32 million specimens and artifacts , ranging from fossils and minerals to cultural and scientific objects from around the globe.

Visitors can explore the many exhibitions and galleries, including the iconic dinosaur skeletons, the impressive Hall of Biodiversity , and the fascinating Rose Center for Earth and Space .

21. Whitney Museum of American Art

world new tourist attractions

The Whitney Museum of American Art is a modern and contemporary art museum located in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. The museum is known for its extensive collection of American art, including works by artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Andy Warhol .

Visitors can explore galleries featuring paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other media, as well as special exhibitions and events. The museum's beautiful architecture, stunning views of the city, and unique collection of artwork make it a must-visit for anyone interested in modern art.

22. New York Public Library

world new tourist attractions

The New York Public Library is one of the world's largest and most prestigious libraries, featuring a vast collection of books, manuscripts, and other materials that document the history and culture of the world.

Visitors to the New York Public Library can explore its beautiful architecture, including the iconic Rose Reading Room . The New York Public Library also boasts exhibits and events that showcase the library's rich history and collections.

23. Chelsea Market

world new tourist attractions

Chelsea Market is a vibrant and bustling indoor market located in the heart of the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. It is housed in a historic building that was once the home of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory.

Today, it is a popular destination for foodies and shoppers alike. The market is home to a diverse range of vendors and merchants, offering everything from artisanal cheeses and baked goods to fresh seafood and international cuisine. Visitors can also find unique gifts and souvenirs at the many specialty shops and boutiques.

24. Grand Central Terminal

world new tourist attractions

Grand Central Terminal is one of the city's most iconic landmarks, featuring stunning Beaux-Arts architecture and serving as a major transportation hub for millions of commuters and travelers each day.

Visitors to Grand Central Terminal in New York can explore the many shops and restaurants, as well as the famous main concourse , with its vaulted ceiling and impressive celestial ceiling mural. The main concourse has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, including Friends with Benefits and Gossip Girl .

25. New York Stock Exchange

world new tourist attractions

The New York Stock Exchange is one of the most iconic financial centers in the world, located in the heart of Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. It has been the symbol of American capitalism for over 200 years, and it continues to be the leading stock exchange in the United States.

Visitors can tour the historic trading floor , learn about the exchange's history, and gain insight into how the stock market works. It's a great way to understand the inner workings of Wall Street and how the financial markets shape the global economy.

26. The Charging Bull Statue

world new tourist attractions

The Charging Bull statue is one of the most iconic landmarks in the financial district of New York City. This bronze sculpture is a symbol of the American financial system's strength and resilience, and it has become a popular destination for tourists from around the world.

The statue is located in Bowling Green Park and depicts a fierce bull charging forward, a representation of the bullish market in the financial industry. Visitors can take photos of the statue and marvel at its impressive size and detail.

27. Coney Island

world new tourist attractions

Coney Island is a world-famous amusement park in Brooklyn. It is a fun-filled destination that offers a wide range of attractions for all ages.

Visitors to Coney Island can enjoy classic rides like the Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel , as well as newer rides like the Thunderbolt and the Steeplechase coaster .

28. The Chrysler Building

world new tourist attractions

The Chrysler Building is an iconic skyscraper located in midtown Manhattan, and it is one of the most recognizable buildings in New York City's skyline. Completed in 1930, it was briefly the tallest building in the world until it was surpassed by the Empire State Building.

The Chrysler Building has a distinctive art deco design and spire, which make it a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts. Visitors can also take an elevator up to the 71st floor to see the building's impressive observation deck.

29. Central Park Zoo

world new tourist attractions

The Central Park Zoo is a small but charming zoo in the heart of Central Park. The zoo features a wide range of animals, including snow leopards, penguins, and sea lions, as well as exhibits and educational programs that explore the wildlife of New York City and beyond.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park, taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying close encounters with some of the world's most fascinating animals. It's one of the best New York City attractions for families.

30. Museum of the Moving Image

world new tourist attractions

The Museum of the Moving Image is a unique and fascinating museum dedicated to the history and technology of film, television, and digital media. The museum features a wide range of exhibits and artifacts, including vintage movie cameras, costumes, and props from famous films and TV shows.

The museum has many interactive installations that allow visitors to explore the world of moving images. Visitors can also enjoy screenings of classic and contemporary films , as well as special events and workshops that offer a behind-the-scenes look at the world of media production.

31. National Lighthouse Museum

world new tourist attractions

The National Lighthouse Museum is a fascinating tribute to the history and culture of lighthouses, featuring exhibits and artifacts that explore the role of lighthouses in maritime navigation and safety.

The museum is located on the grounds of the former US Lighthouse Service General Depot , which played a key role in the maintenance and repair of lighthouses throughout the country.

Visitors can learn about the history of lighthouses and their importance in keeping ships and sailors safe, as well as explore the museum's collection of maritime artifacts and memorabilia.

32. Little Island in the West Village

world new tourist attractions

Little Island is a new public park and performance venue in the West Village of New York City. This unique attraction features an elevated, 2.4-acre park on top of a series of concrete piles, creating a stunning visual spectacle that appears to float above the water.

The park is home to a variety of plant life, including trees, shrubs, and flowers, and offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River. Little Island is also a vibrant cultural destinatio n, featuring a range of live music, theater, and dance performances throughout the year.

33. The Hudson River

world new tourist attractions

The Hudson River is a scenic waterway that runs for over 300 miles from the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is a major attraction in New York, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Visitors can enjoy kayaking, sailing, and fishing , or take a relaxing boat tour along the river. You can also explore the many parks and trails that line its banks, including the Hudson River Greenway and the Palisades Interstate Park.

34. The Frick Collection

world new tourist attractions

The Frick Collection is a museum in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is housed in the former residence of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and features a collection of European art, decorative arts, and sculpture from the Renaissance through the early 20th century.

The museum's highlights include works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Renoir , as well as masterpieces of sculpture and decorative arts. The Frick Collection is known for its intimate atmosphere and impressive collection of works, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. It's temporarily closed but check the website for updates.

35. Madame Tussauds New York

world new tourist attractions

Madame Tussauds New York is a popular wax museum located in Times Square in New York City. The museum features lifelike wax sculptures of famous celebrities, politicians, historical figures, and pop culture icons from around the world.

Visitors can get up close and personal with their favorite stars, take selfies with their favorite celebrities, and even participate in interactive exhibits that simulate being on the red carpet or playing with their favorite sports team.

36. Museum of Sex

world new tourist attractions

The Museum of Sex in New York City features a collection of exhibits and installations that range from the historical to the modern, with a focus on exploring the social and cultural contexts in which sexuality has been experienced throughout history.

Visitors can learn about the history of erotica , explore the impact of technology on modern sexuality, and engage with interactive installations that encourage exploration and discussion of taboo topics.

37. The New York Hall of Science

world new tourist attractions

The New York Hall of Science is an interactive science museum in Queens, New York. Its hands-on experiences showcase the wonders of science and technology. Visitors can learn about physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science through interactive exhibits and live demonstrations.

The museum is especially popular with families and children, who can engage in hands-on activities that are both fun and educational . Highlights of the museum include the Science Playground, an outdoor exhibit that lets children experiment with water, sound, and motion, and the 3D theater, which shows immersive science films.

38. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

world new tourist attractions

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an iconic museum that is located on an aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid, docked on the Hudson River. The USS Intrepid is a World War II aircraft carrier that survived several close battles in the Pacific and has been on permanent display since the early 1980s.

The museum's collection explores the history of air and space exploration , as well as the role of the military in protecting our nation's freedoms. View vintage planes and spacecraft and participate in interactive exhibits that offer a unique and engaging experience.

39. The National Museum of the American Indian

world new tourist attractions

The National Museum of the American Indian in New York City is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about the indigenous cultures of the Americas.

The museum features exhibits that explore the rich and diverse history of the native peoples of the Americas, from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Visitors can view artifacts and art from various tribes and participate in interactive exhibits that offer a unique and engaging experience.

40. Yankee Stadium

world new tourist attractions

Yankee Stadium is a legendary sports venue in New York that is a must-visit destination for sports fans of all ages. The stadium is home to the New York Yankees baseball team.

Visitors can attend games, take guided tours of the stadium , and view the team's championship trophies and memorabilia. The stadium is also home to a range of dining and entertainment options, including restaurants, bars, and retail shops, making it a great place to spend a day or evening enjoying America's favorite pastime.

41. St. Patrick's Cathedral

world new tourist attractions

St. Patrick's Cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture and is one of the most iconic landmarks in New York City. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the cathedral has been a fixture in the city since 1878 and attracts visitors from around the world.

Visitors can admire the intricate stained-glass windows, towering spires, and ornate details that make St. Patrick's Cathedral one of the most beautiful churches in the world . Whether you're a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or religious pilgrim, a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral is a must when in New York City.

42. New York Aquarium

world new tourist attractions

The New York Aquarium is a fantastic destination for animal lovers of all ages. Located on Coney Island , the aquarium boasts an impressive collection of marine life, including sea lions, penguins, sharks, and rays.

Visitors can learn about the ocean's creatures and conservation efforts through interactive exhibits and educational programs. The NY aquarium is not just a fun day out, but it is also a valuable resource for marine research and conservation.

43. The High Line

world new tourist attractions

The High Line is an elevated park that runs along a former railroad track on Manhattan's west side. The park offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Hudson River and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

The park features unique art installations , vibrant gardens, and peaceful seating areas, making it an excellent place to relax and enjoy the city's natural beauty. Visitors can take a stroll along the High Line and take in the sights and sounds of New York City from a new perspective.

44. Bryant Park

world new tourist attractions

Bryant Park is a beautiful public park located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and a great place to relax and take a break from the city's hustle and bustle. Enjoy the park's lush greenery, free WiFi, and various outdoor activities, including lawn games, concerts, and movie screenings.

Bryant Park is also home to a variety of food and beverage options , making it a great spot for a picnic or a quick bite to eat. A visit to Bryant Park is a must for anyone looking to experience a peaceful oasis in the midst of the city's busy streets.

45. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

world new tourist attractions

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York's Upper West Side is home to some of the world's most celebrated arts organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet.

Visitors can attend performances in any of the center's multiple venues, ranging from classical music to opera to dance. In addition to performances, Lincoln Center also offers guided tours of its facilities, allowing visitors to learn more about the history and significance of this iconic institution.

46. Legoland New York

world new tourist attractions

Legoland New York is a theme park dedicated to the popular building toy, Lego. Located in Goshen, NY, it is one of the best New York attractions for families with children. The park features more than 50 rides, attractions, and shows that are all designed to inspire creativity and imagination.

Visitors can take a stroll through Miniland , where Lego sculptures of famous New York City landmarks are on display. They can also take a ride on the Dragon Coaster , a thrilling roller coaster that takes them through a Lego castle .

47. The Neue Galerie

world new tourist attractions

The Neue Galerie is a must-visit destination for art lovers in New York City. Located on Fifth Avenue, the museum features a collection of German and Austrian art from the early 20th century, including works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Otto Dix.

The museum's stunning architecture and interior design add to the charm and beauty of the space. The Neue Galerie is a unique and immersive experience that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural history of Germany and Austria during a time of great artistic innovation.

48. MOMA PS1

world new tourist attractions

MoMA PS1 is a contemporary art museum in Long Island City, Queens, New York City. It is affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and specializes in exhibiting innovative and experimental art by emerging artists from around the world.

You can explore the museum's various exhibitions, attend events and performances, or simply relax in the museum's outdoor courtyard, which features a large-scale installation by an emerging artist each year.

49. The Skyscraper Museum

world new tourist attractions

The Skyscraper Museum ****in New York City is a fascinating destination for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike. The museum is dedicated to exploring the history of skyscrapers and their impact on the urban landscape.

It features a collection of artifacts, photographs, and models that showcase the evolution of skyscraper design and construction from the early 20th century to the present day. Visitors can learn about the engineering and architectural innovations that enabled the creation of some of the world's most iconic buildings.

50. The Brooklyn Flea

world new tourist attractions

One of the underrated New York attractions is the Brooklyn Flea , a weekly outdoor flea market that features a variety of unique vendors selling vintage clothing, antique furniture, handmade crafts, and artisanal food.

FAQs Related to Fun New York Tourist Attractions

Let's also explore some frequently asked questions related to fun New York Tourist Attractions.

What is the number 1 tourist attraction in NYC?

The number 1 tourist attraction in NYC is the Statue of Liberty. It was gifted to the United States by the people of France and has been a symbol of freedom and democracy for over a century. Visitors can take a ferry to Liberty Island and climb to the top of the statue for breathtaking views of the New York City skyline.

What is the most visited place in NY?

The most visited place in New York is Times Square. Located in the heart of Manhattan, Times Square is a bustling commercial and entertainment hub famous for its bright lights, billboards, and digital screens. It's estimated that over 330,000 people visit Times Square every day, making it one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world.

Summing Up: Best New York Tourist Attractions

New York City is a treasure trove of fun and exciting tourist attractions that offer something for everyone. From the world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art and Fifth Avenue to the iconic Liberty Island, Central Park, and World Trade Center, there is no shortage of places to explore in New York .

Explore the bustling streets of downtown Manhattan and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city skyline from the Top of the Rock observation deck. Use our list of the 50 best fun New York tourist attractions and plan your visit today.

With so much to see and do, there has never been a better time to visit the Big Apple. So, book your tickets today and discover the magic of New York City for yourself.

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17 Top Tourist Attractions in Moscow

Last updated on November 3, 2023 by Alex Schultz -

The capital of Russia is an incredible place to explore. Visitors to Moscow come away spellbound at all the amazing sights, impressed at the sheer size and grandeur of the city. Lying at the heart of Moscow, the Red Square and the Kremlin are just two of the must-see tourist attractions; they are the historical, political and spiritual heart of the city – and indeed Russia itself.

A fascinating city to wander around, stunning cathedrals, churches, and palaces lie side-by-side with bleak grey monuments and remains from the Soviet state. In addition to its plethora of historical and cultural tourist attractions, Moscow is home to world-class museums, theaters and art galleries.

Renowned for its performing arts, fantastic ballets and amazing circus acts, catching a show while in Moscow is a must. The wealth of brilliant restaurants, trendy bars, and lively nightlife means there is something for everyone to enjoy.

See also: Where to Stay in Moscow

In this post, we'll cover:

17. Tsaritsyno Palace

Tsaritsyno Palace

Once the summer residence of Catherine the Great, the stunning Tsaritsyno Palace is now a museum-reserve. The architecture is magnificent and there is a lovely park surrounding it for visitors to explore.

Located in the south of Moscow, the palace was commissioned in 1775 and recent renovations mean its lavish interior looks better than ever before with its elegant halls and beautiful staircases.

The exhibits on display look at the life of the empress as well as the history of Tsaritsyno itself. The huge palace grounds are also home to some other delightful buildings with the elegant opera house and wonderful brickwork of the Small Palace being particularly impressive to gaze upon.

VDNKh

Starting out in 1935 as the ‘All-Union Agricultural Exhibition’, VDNKh has slowly morphed over the years into the fascinating open-air museum of today. Remarkably, over 400 buildings can now be found within its confines.

The huge park complex has numerous pavilions representing former Soviet republics on show, such as those of Armenia and Turkmenistan and the distinctive architecture of each of the buildings is always interesting to gaze upon. In addition to this there is the fascinating Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics which is dedicated to space exploration and the fun Moskvarium aquarium even offers you the chance to swim with dolphins.

With lots of eateries scattered about and numerous entertainment options such as horse-riding and zip-lining, there is something for everyone to enjoy; the Friendship of Nations fountain truly is wonderful.

15. Kremlin Armoury

Kremlin Armoury

One of the oldest museums in the city, the Kremlin Armoury has a wealth of treasures; highlights include the ornate Grand Siberian Railway egg, the historic Cap of Monomakh and the stunning Imperial Crown of Russia which often has a crowd of tourists around it, jostling to take a photo.

Once the royal armory, there are loads of fascinating objects on display. Perusing the many sabers, jewelry, armor and more is as interesting as it is educational and entertaining and the swords are so finely crafted that you’ll almost wish you could pick up one and wield if yourself.

Established in 1851, the museum is situated in the Moscow Kremlin.

14. GUM Department Store

GUM Department Store

Standing for ‘Main Universal Store’ in Russian, GUM is stunning. Its wonderful skylights and beautiful facades mean it doesn’t look out of place alongside its illustrious neighbors on Red Square.

With over 200 shops, boutiques and upmarket eateries inside, it is a shopaholic’s heaven and concerned partners will be glad to find more affordable options alongside luxury brands such as Dior and Prada.

The main department store in the city, GUM was opened in 1893. The stunning architecture makes it well worth a visit even if shopping isn’t your thing.

13. Moscow Metro

Moscow Metro

It’s not often that public transport looks like a work of art. So many stops on the Moscow Metro will astound visitors with their beauty and elegance.

Decked in marble and with frescoes covering the walls, the stations are amazing to gaze upon and are part of one of the longest metro systems in the world, with the first stations opened in 1935.

Using the metro is the quickest and easiest way to get around Moscow and braving the crowds of commuters is well worth it for the beauty all around you.

12. Arbat Street

Arbat Street

An elegant yet lively street, Arbat is full of impressive architecture and was once a popular place to live for aristocrats, artists, and academics.

A historic place, it is down Arbat Street that Napoleon’s troops are said to have headed on their way to capture the Kremlin.

Nowadays, there are many cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well as various monuments and statues to former residents such as Alexander Pushkin who was reputed to be a lover of the Russian Empress due to his massive influence in court.

11. Novodevichy Convent

Novodevichy Convent

Drenched in history, the Novodevichy Convent is located in a striking building that was once a fortress. This captivating place is well worth visiting when in Moscow.

Founded in 1524, the convent houses four cathedrals; Smolensk Cathedral is the undoubted highlight due to its delightful 16th-century frescoes.

Wandering around the grounds is like stepping back in time. The Novodevichy Cemetery is where many famous leaders of the Soviet Union are buried, such as Yeltsin and Khrushchev.

10. Pushkin Museum

Pushkin Museum

Despite its name, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts actually has no connection at all to the famous poet other than that it was named in his honor after his death. A delight to visit, its extensive collection focuses on European art with masterpieces by Botticelli, Rembrandt, and van Gogh all featuring.

Sculptures, graphic art, paintings and more can be found in its beautiful galleries; various sections look at themes and epochs such as the Renaissance, the Dutch Golden Age, and Byzantine art.

Among the many highlights are the clownish characters which can be found in Cezanne’s Fastnacht (Mardi Gras) and the twirling ballerinas who look so elegant in Degas’ Blue Dancers. Picasso’s Young acrobat on a Ball is also well worth checking out for its interesting use of shapes and colors.

9. Christ The Savior Cathedral

Christ The Savior Cathedral

This gorgeous Russian Orthodox cathedral is located on the banks of the Moskva River, just a stone’s throw away from the Kremlin.

The church as it stands today was consecrated in 2000, as the original church that stood here was destroyed on the command of Josef Stalin in 1931 due to the anti-religious campaign.

With its delightful golden dome, spires and dazzling white facades, the Christ the Savior Cathedral is stunning. The interior is just as captivating to wander around, with its beautifully tiled floors and impressive altar.

8. Lenin Mausoleum

Lenin Mausoleum

Opened to the public in 1924, Lenin’s Mausoleum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Moscow. The red granite structure is located at the heart of the city in Red Square.

Lenin’s embalmed body lies in a glass sarcophagus; it is a somewhat eerie experience walking past the former leader of the Soviet Union but is well worth doing as you understandably can’t do it anywhere else in the world.

After visiting the mausoleum, head to the Kremlin wall right next to it for more graves of important communist figures such as Stalin and Brezhnev.

7. Tretyakov Gallery

Tretyakov Gallery

Home to the most extensive and impressive collection of Russian fine art in the world, the State Tretyakov Gallery is definitely worth visiting when in Moscow for the wealth of amazing art pieces that it has on display.

Having started out as the private art collection of the Tretyakov brothers, there are now over 130,000 exhibits. Highlights include the iconic Theotokos of Vladimir which you will almost certainly recognise despite probably not knowing the name and Rublev’s Trinity which is considered to be one of highest achievements in Russian art.

An absolute must for art lovers, the State Tretyakov Gallery will delight visitors with all that is has to offer.

6. Kolomenskoye

Kolomenskoye

Once a royal estate, Kolomenskoye is now a museum-reserve and lies a few kilometers outside of the city center. A captivating place to visit, there is a plethora of history on show and the site overlooks the Moskva River.

Consisting of four historical sites, there are extensive gardens for visitors to explore, as well as loads of interesting old buildings, the former village of Kolomenskoye itself and the impressive Palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich – once considered the Eighth Wonder of the World by contemporaries.

Among the many stunning sights, it is the brilliantly white Ascension Church that is the undoubted highlight – dating back to 1532.

5. Gorky Park

Gorky Park

Lying alongside the Moskva River, the huge Gorky Park is a lovely place to visit. Its extensive gardens are home to numerous cultural institutions and visitors should definitely check out the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and while the eclectic exhibits may not always feature such incredible sights as a balloon-covered rider on a zebra; they certainly always succeed in pushing back the boundaries of art.

Pop-up exhibitions and festivals can be found from time to time in the park itself and there is an open-air theatre and numerous eateries alongside a plethora of leisure activities.

Whether it’s cycling, table tennis or yoga that you are after or beach volleyball and rowing, Gorky Park certainly has it. In winter, there is a huge ice rink for visitors to enjoy.

4. Bolshoi Theatre

Bolshoi Theatre

The Bolshoi Theatre is the main theater in the country. The amazing opera and ballet performances it has put on over the centuries go a long way in explaining Russia’s rich history of performing arts.

While the Bolshoi Ballet Company was established in 1776, the theater itself was opened in 1825. The glittering, six-tier auditorium is lavishly and decadently decorated; it is a fitting setting for the world-class performances that take place on its stage.

Spending a night watching a performance of such classics as The Nutcracker or Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theatre is sure to be a memorable experience and the beauty all around you only adds to the sense of occasion.

3. Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin

This famously fortified complex is remarkably home to five palaces and four cathedrals and is the historic, political and spiritual center of the city. The Kremlin serves as the residence for the country’s president. It has been used as a fort, and this fact is made clear by its sheer size. The Kremlin’s outer walls were built in the late 1400s.

Under Ivan III, better known as Ivan the Great, the Kremlin became the center of a unified Russian state, and was extensively remodeled. Three of the Kremlin’s cathedrals date to his reign that lasted from 1462-1505. The Deposition Church and the Palace of Facets were also constructed during this time. The Ivan the Great Bell Tower was built in 1508. It is the tallest tower at the Kremlin with a height of 266 feet (81 meters).

Joseph Stalin removed many of the relics from the tsarist regimes. However, the Tsar Bell, the world’s largest bell, and the Tsar Cannon, the largest bombard by caliber in the world, are among the remaining items from that era. The Kremlin Armory is one of Moscow’s oldest museums as it was established more than 200 years ago. Its diamond collection is impressive.

The Kremlin’s gardens – Taynitsky, Grand Kremlin Public and Alexander – are beautiful. The Kremlin has also served as the religious center of the country, and there is a tremendous number of preserved churches and cathedrals here. The collections contained within the museums include more than 60,000 historical, cultural and artistic monuments. Those who enjoy the performing arts will want to consider attending a ballet or concert at the State Kremlin Palace. Completed in 1961, it is the only modern building in the Kremlin.

2. Red Square

Red Square

Lying at the heart of Moscow, Red Square is the most important and impressive square in the city. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions due to its wealth of historical sights and cultural landmarks.

Drenched in history, the huge square is home to incredible sights such as the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Mausoleum, among others. Consequently, it is not to be missed when in Moscow as it really is home to the city’s most stunning monuments.

It is here that many important moments in Russian history took place; the former marketplace has hosted everything from Tsar’s coronations and public ceremonies to rock concerts and Soviet military parades. Wandering around the massive square is a humbling experience and undoubtedly one of the highlights the city has to offer.

1. Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Located in the impressive Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral is gorgeous; its delightful spires appear as if out of a fairytale. The most recognizable building in the country, the cathedral is very much a symbol of Russia. No visit to Moscow is complete without having taken in its unique and distinctive features.

Ivan the Terrible ordered the cathedral’s construction in the mid-16th century, and legend holds that Ivan put out the architect’s eyes so that he would be unable to build another cathedral more glorious than St. Basil’s. Designed to resemble the shape of a bonfire in full flame, the architecture is not only unique to the period in which it was built but to any subsequent period. For various reasons, both Napoleon and Stalin wanted to destroy the cathedral but fortunately did not succeed.

Known for its various colors, shapes and geometric patterns, St. Basil’s Cathedral houses nine different chapels that are all connected by a winding labyrinth of corridors and stairways. On the lower floor, St. Basil’s Chapel contains a silver casket bearing the body of St. Basil the Blessed.

Throughout the cathedral are many beautiful murals, frescoes, wooden icons and other art works and artifacts. Outside the cathedral is a lovely garden with the bronze Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, who rallied an all-volunteer Russian army against Polish invaders during a period of the late 16th century known as the Times of Troubles.

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15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Moscow

Written by Diana Bocco Updated Dec 23, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Moscow is one of Europe's most enigmatic destinations, home to a fascinating history and colorful, awe-inspiring architecture you won't find anywhere else in the world. Moscow might be one of the most populous cities in the world with over 11 million inhabitants, but this hasn't changed its strong cultural and social traditions.

Walk the cobblestone streets of the Red Square or the banks of the Moskva River early in the morning, and it's hard to tell what century you're in.

Tsarist architecture, must-see churches, and glamorous shopping opportunities blend together for a visual experience you won't forget. For ideas on what to see and do while visiting Russia, here's our list of top tourist attractions in Moscow.

1. Marvel at the Size of the Kremlin

2. catch a performance at the bolshoi theatre, 3. shop at the luxurious gum, 4. make your way into lenin's mausoleum, 5. spend an hour (or three) at red square, 6. discover history at the museum of cosmonautics, 7. ride the stunning moscow metro, 8. explore the moscow state integrated museum-reserve, 9. spend a rainy day at the tretyakov gallery, 10. walk up and down arbat street, 11. stop by the vdnkh all-russian exhibition centre, 12. wander around gorky park, where to stay in moscow for sightseeing, map of tourist attractions & things to do in moscow.

Kremlin

Moscow's most recognizable structure is without a doubt the Kremlin, a 15th-century fortified complex that covers an area of 275,000 square meters surrounded by walls built in the 1400s.

The Grand Kremlin Palace -which has over 700 rooms- was once home to the Tsar family and is now the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation, although most heads of state choose to reside elsewhere.

The massive complex also includes many other buildings, some of which are open to the public and can be visited regularly. Aside from three cathedrals (including one where the Tsars were once crowned) and a number of towers, the Kremlin is also home to the Armory building, a museum holding everything from the royal crown and imperial carriages to the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible and Fabergé eggs.

Bolshoi Theatre

The Bolshoi Theater is home to the largest and one of the oldest ballet and opera companies in the world . While the theater has undergone several major renovations over the past century-including a recent one in 2011 to restore some of the imperial architectural details-it still retains all of its Neoclassical grandeur.

The Bolshoi Theater you see today opened in 1824, after several older versions burned down. Inside, red velvet, a three-tiered crystal chandelier, and gilt moldings give the place a Byzantine-Renassaince grandiose feel like no other.

Catching a show from the resident ballet and opera troupes is a treat, as the theater often presents a number of classic performances, such as Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa and Rachmaninoff's Francesca da Rimini, both of which originally premiered here.

GUM

Moscow's oldest and most upscale shopping center is an architectural marvel. GUM (short for Glávnyj Universálnyj Magazín or "Main Universal Store") was built in the late 1800s in neo-Russian style to showcase a beautiful mix of a steel skeleton and 20,000 panels of glass forming an arched roof.

This was a unique construction at the time, since the glass had to be strong enough to support the snow-heavy Russian winters. The building is just as impressive outside, with all three levels covered in marble and granite.

While GUM is no longer the largest shopping center in Moscow, it's still by far the most beautiful. Home to brands like Gucci and Manolo Blahnik, this might not be the ideal destination for most budget-conscious visitors, but the beauty of the building itself is worth a visit.

On the third floor, there are also great dining options, including a Soviet-style canteen that serves traditional Russian food, and a stand selling ice cream made by hand using an original 1954 recipe originally approved by the Soviet government.

Lenin's Mausoleum

Lenin's Mausoleum, the final resting place of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, occupies a central spot in Red Square. His body has been in the mausoleum since his death in 1924-and although the original plan was for him to be buried after a short period of public display for mourning, the plan quickly changed.

After over 100,000 visited the tomb over a period of six weeks, it was decided that a new sarcophagus and a more permanent display space could actually preserve Lenin's body for much longer than expected-and Lenin's Mausoleum was built.

Over the years, the mausoleum and its marble stairs also became the main spot from where Soviet leaders would watch parades and events happening in Red Square.

Lenin's embalmed body can still be seen today, lying down in a bulletproof glass sarcophagus as if he's sleeping. While a visit to the mausoleum is certainly unusual, it has become a must-do for history buffs looking to understand how Lenin's legacy truly changed the nation. Come ready to wait, though -there are usually lines to get in.

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square

All of Moscow's main streets start at Red Square, so it's easy to see why this is considered the heart of the city. A massive space of 330 meters by 70 meters, the square is flanked by the Kremlin, Lenin's Mausoleum, two cathedrals, and the State Historical Museum.

In 1945, a massive Victory Parade was held here to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Armed Forces.

St. Basil's Cathedral , one of the most recognizable buildings on the square, was built in 1555. The unique cathedral has architectural details inspired by Byzantine and Asian design, as well as details that resemble those found in famous mosques. There are nine individual chapels inside the church, all decorated with colorful mural art.

Both the square itself and the Kremlin are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites . On weekends, there are sometimes stalls selling souvenirs and traditional items here, such as matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls), at the entrance of the square.

Monument to the Conquerors of Space

At one point, Russia and the US were toe-to-toe when it came to space exploration. While that might no longer be the case, the museum's amazing collection-which includes over 85,000 items-is still awe-inspiring.

Main exhibits include the space capsule used by Yuri Gagarin , the first human to travel into outer space; a USSR flag with moon fragments; a Soviet spacesuit; and a rocket propulsion unit from the 1960s. A special two-story hall showcases sections of the Mir space station interior, and there are also models of the first sputniks and a replica miniature spaceship.

English-language tours are available, and there's also a Cinema Hall showing subtitled short films about the history of space exploration programs and the first manned space flight.

The museum is located inside the base of the monument to the Conquerors of Space, which was built almost 20 years before the museum opened.

Komsomolskaya Station on the Moscow metro

Riding the Moscow metro is an experience all in itself, but even just heading underground to walk through the stations is something no visitor should miss. With 223 stations and 12 metro lines crosscutting through Moscow, however, this can be tricky, so visiting at least a few of the most impressive ones is a good start.

Arbatskaya station was designed by a skyscraper architect, so it's no surprise that it features multicolored granite slabs and impressive bronze chandeliers.

Park Kultury station , located next to Gorky Park, is covered in marble and features reliefs of people involved in sports, while Teatralnaya station is decorated with porcelain figures dancing and wearing traditional Russian costumes.

The metro is open between 5:30am and 1:00am but it's very crowded in the early morning and after 4pm, so it's better to visit in the late morning or early afternoon to really appreciate the architecture without the crowds.

Kolomenskoye Estate

The Moscow State Integrated Art and Historical Architectural and Natural Landscape Museum-Reserve is a cultural open-air museum complex comprised of four different historical sites.

The most important site, the Kolomenskoye Estate, was once the summer residence of Tsars as far back as the 14 th century. The complex, which covers almost 300 hectares, is home to fairy-tale wooden palaces; a tent-roof stone church built in the 1500s; a water tower; fort towers and structures; and the 24-room Museum of Wooden Architecture , which includes the restored dining room of Tsar Alexei I.

Beautiful manicured gardens , riverside picnic areas, and a massive collection of both artifacts and structures make this a great destination to help you see what medieval Russia looked like. English-language tours are available, but you're also free to wander the grounds on your own.

Tretyakov Gallery

The largest collection of Russian art in the world sits here, with over 180,000 paintings, sculptures, and religious art dating back to over a millennia ago. The gallery, built using beautiful red and white colors from classical Russian architecture, is located near the Kremlin and it was built in the early 20 th century.

Significant art pieces include the Vladimir Mother of God; a Byzantine icon of the Virgin and child dating back to the 1100s; Andrei Rublev's The Trinity icon from the 15 th century; and several works by Ilya Repin, the most famous realist painter in Russia.

On the grounds of the museum, there is also an 86-meter-tall statue of Peter the Great, as well as a number of Socialist Realism sculptures.

Night view of Arbat Street decorated for the holidays

Moscow's one-kilometer-long pedestrian street has been around since the 15 th century. Originally a trade route in the outskirts of the city, Arbat Street is now very centrally located, home to posh buildings and lots of places to eat and shop.

Beautiful street lamps and two significant statues-one of Princess Turandot (from Puccini's last opera) and one of Soviet-era poet Bulat Okudzhava-adorn the street, which fills up with both locals and tourists on evenings and weekends.

A great place to pick up souvenirs or sit down at an outdoor café, Arbat Street also offers a chance to visit the former home of poet Alexander Pushkin and the café both Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy used to visit.

VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Centre and the Friendship of the Peoples Fountain

Although it was originally designed as a general-purpose trade show venue, this park complex now houses amusement rides , ice rinks , and a number of galleries and other attractions for all ages.

The park's most famous landmarks are the Moskvarium, a marine biology center home to over 8000 species of marine animals, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, and a shopping center selling traditional products from former Soviet countries.

There's even a film museum showing Soviet cartoons or even a full-length film (for an extra fee) and an education center offering masterclasses on everything from becoming a barista to video montage (call or write in advance to find out which ones are English-friendly).

Soviet-era pavilions, sculptures, and fountains abound here as well, including the famous Friendship of the Peoples Fountain, which features statues of women dressed in costumes from different former Soviet countries.

Main entrance gate to Gorky Park

Named after the famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky (who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature five times but never won it) and sitting right across the Moskva River, Gorky Park covers 120 hectares of beautiful ponds and green spaces.

Popular with both locals and tourists, the park offers a variety of things to enjoy-from sunbeds, hammocks, and drinking fountains to free yoga classes and children's playgrounds. There's free Wi-Fi and sockets for charging your phone, as well as many food stands and plenty of wild animals, including deer, rabbits, and pheasants.

Visitors can rent paddle boats and bicycles to explore the park-and from May to October, there is also an open-air movie theater, as well as scheduled presentations by street performers, musicians, and artists. Gorky Park attracts the young and old, so don't be surprised to see a mix of people exercising, playing chess, and sunbathing.

Luxury Hotels :

  • Lotte Hotel Moscow is one of the top 5-star properties in Moscow offering the largest Royal Suite in Russia. The trendy rooms and suites here all have contemporary style and great city views. On-site amenities are plentiful. There are two restaurants: one serving contemporary Italian fare, and the other Japanese. There is an impressively lit indoor swimming pool, a well-known spa, and a state-of-the-art gym.
  • Another excellent luxury hotel is the Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow . The residential-style property is in the heart of Moscow just next to the Bolshoi Theatre and within walking distance of the Kremlin and Red Square. The rooms and suites have been opulently designed by Tony Chi. The on-site restaurant serves a mix of European and Armenian specialities. There is also a Japanese sushi bar and a rooftop lounge with fabulous city views.
  • The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya also has a central location just a few minutes from the Kremlin and Red Square. The 5-star property has a mix of elegant rooms and suites, including interconnecting room options for families with kids. There are multiple restaurants on-site including an Italian bistro. Other amenities include the fabulous Iridium Spa, which does a full range of treatments and has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, and steam room.

Mid-Range Hotels :

  • Palmira Business Club is a top mid-range choice. The contemporary lifestyle hotel offers well-appointed rooms and suites, including options for families. Suites are quite spacious and have kitchenettes. Amenities here include a complimentary breakfast at the on-site restaurant, a hot tub, sauna, and spa. There is also a fitness center.
  • The trendy Mercure Moscow Baumanskaya offers a mix of rooms and suites with contemporary decor. The mid-range hotel can arrange airport transportation and offers baggage storage. Other amenities include a restaurant and room service. The front desk is open 24 hours.
  • Boutique Hotel Brighton is about 10 minutes from the city center in a leafy park area. It offers excellent value for money and has charming rooms and suites with sound-proof windows and doors, as well as blackout curtains. A complimentary breakfast is served, and there is also an indoor swimming pool.

Budget Hotels :

  • Hotel Ibis Budget Moscow Panfilovskaya is about a 15-minute drive from Moscow's downtown, and it's within walking distance from a metro station that will take you there. The soundproof rooms at this budget property are clean, comfortable, and can sleep up to three people. The hotel is pet friendly, has paid parking available on-site, and also has a salon.
  • If you just need a budget hotel near the airport then check out Aviator Hotel Sheremetyevo . Located right at the airport, it has soundproof rooms, including options for families. Amenities include an indoor play area for kids, a sauna and swimming pool, and a free breakfast.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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Exploring Russia: Whether you are interested in history, nature, or architecture, there's much to see in Russia. For a good introduction to some of the most fascinating spots in the country, take a look at our article on the Best Places to Visit in Russia . For more on Russia's second-largest city and all it has to offer, check out our piece on the Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in St. Petersburg .

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17 Exciting Things to do in Moscow

Written By: Linda Voltaire

Updated On: December 21, 2022

Visiting Russia? These are the top 17 things to do in Moscow to help you plan your trip.

If the western world has New York City , the first great metropolis on the eastern side of our planet is Moscow. A huge city with a complicated and impressive history, Moscow gets a bad rep over Russian politics – but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Capital to the largest country in the world, Moscow takes the grandeur of its standing very seriously.

This is a place where luxury is king and where opulence takes a front seat in every aspect of life. The buildings are grand and imposing, the parks are luscious and enormous, and even the subway stations look different in Moscow than anywhere else in the world.

Table of Contents

Best Things to do in Moscow, Russia

Walking around Moscow is also going through the tumultuous history of the 20th century, which had Russia as one of its main protagonists. There are fascinating remains of these times everywhere in the former Soviet capital, from the gorgeous Seven Sisters skyscrapers to the Orthodox cathedrals that were closed for the better part of a century.  Still, Moscow is also a completely modern city, with a vibrant social and party scene, incredible restaurants, and some of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

After living in Russia’s capital as an ex-pat for four years, I got the privilege to experience not only the main attractions in Moscow but also the everyday life in this huge city and quickly found my sweat spots off the beaten tracks! So here is my list of my top 17 things to do in this exciting metropolis!

Attractions in Moscow

When visiting a famous city like this one, it’s a must to go through the most iconic landmarks first. Moscow has plenty of those, most of them in the center of the city, which is very well-planned for tourists.

1. The Red Square, Kremlin & Surrounding Area

No place tells the story of Moscow’s power in the past century the way the Red Square does. This is where the biggest political meetings in the USSR occurred for many decades, and you can feel the power on each step.

Here, you’ll also find the historic museum at the entrance, showcasing the decades of history behind this iconic landmark. The Lenin Mausoleum, perhaps the most famous resting place in the world and home to the remains of the former communist leader, is also here.

On one side of the Red Square you’ll find the Kremlin, the fortified complex that now hosts the presidential residence. This is also home to the most iconic of all Moscovite landmarks: St. Basil’s Cathedral, a 16th-century marvel of colors. This is the best spot to take a selfie and show the world you’ve reached the Russian capital!

  • Get your Kremlin Skip the Line Tickets and Kremlin tour here.
  • Free cancellation up to 24-hours in advance of the tour.

2. Bolshoi Theatre

You can easily spend a couple of days just exploring the Moscovite city centre, and the Bolshoi Theatre should be your second stop. Walk past the Red Square and then head to the nearby Bolshoi Theatre, one of the oldest and most renowned houses of opera and ballet on Earth.

Visit for the impressive early 19th-century architecture, but if you’re seeing a ballet performance, make sure you book between 3 and 6 months in advance! I can strongly recommend this as it is a truly unique experience!

  • Book a private 2-hour tour of the legendary Bolshoi Theatre.
  • See the presidential box reserved for tzars, watch a rehearsal and skip the lines through a separate entrance.
  • Free Cancellation up to 24-hours in advance.

3. Luxury Shopping at GUM and TSUM

While many might think of Moscow as the sad place with the long bread queues from the USSR days, it’s been quite the capitalist haven for a while.

If you’re up for some shopping, you’ll find one of the biggest luxury malls in town, TSUM, right behind the Bolshoi and GUM, at the red square. GUM is the most famous department store in town, where you’ll find luxury everywhere and all high-end brand. 

All in an imposing late 19th-century building with lots of history, worth a visit just for the design, its bridges and the glass roof even though you are not up for shopping!

4. Christ the Savior Cathedral

A newer addition to the gorgeous Moscovite cathedrals and my grandeur neighbor during my years in the city Don’t let the young age of this building fool you. After the perestroika in the early 90s, the newly revived Russian Orthodox Church received permission to build a cathedral on this site. They did the location honors and built the largest temple of the Christian Orthodox Church.

The façade is as grand as you’d expect, but it’s the inside that will mesmerize you, with its domes as tall as the skies in bright gold and gorgeous paintings and decor! Bring a shawl to cover your hair to adjust to the local tradition.

Head to the back of the cathedral and you will find one of the most photographed bridges in Moscow, the Patriarshiy Most. This is the perfect spot to get a good view and photo of the cathedral but also to see the Kreml and Gorky Park from a distance. Or why not just enjoy a moment watching the river and its boats!  

  • Get around Moscow with ease using the Hop On Hop Off boat and Bus ticket. 24, 48 or 72-hour tickets available.

5. Gorky Park

Cross the river and head to Gorky Park along the Moscow river. The most famous green area in town, similar to New York ’s Central Park and the weekend hangout for locals. There are many beautiful parks in the city, but if you’re only visiting for a few days, this is the unmissable one! 

With fair attractions to entertain children, beautiful artificial lakes and gardens, and lots of outdoor activities, it’s a lovely place to relax. A place of rest in the middle of the metropolis. The area in front of the New Tretyakov Gallery & the Muzeon Park of Arts is actually one of my favorite oasis as a bit more quiet and peaceful than Gorky itself.

Why not spend some time in the museum to get a great tour of Russia’s history through art or just enjoy the art exhibition outside where local artists spend their weekends. 

6. River Cruising

One of the best ways to experience Moscow is from the Moscow River. There are many stops for the boats and one is just next to Gorky Park. See the city from another perspective – and turn the ride into a romantic one by taking the evening cruise. Moscow is magic during the night.

If you’re looking for a truly luxurious experience, take the Radisson Blu cruise – or the Erwin for a delicious seafood dinner. Both stop at Gorky or at the luxury Radisson Royal Hotel, set in one of the Seven Sister’s skyscrapers.

  • We use Get Your Guide when booking city tours and they offer a River Sightseeing Cruise seeing all the main tourist attractions in Moscow

7. Metro Hopping

First inaugurated in the 1930s, the Moscow subway system is one of the oldest in the world, and certainly the most beautiful. Started under Stalinist times, each metro station is dedicated to grandeur and oozing personality.

Visiting the subway stops is an attraction in and of itself, and Komsomolskaya, Mayakovskaya, Kropotkinskaya are my favorites. Those surrounding the Red Square are also mesmerizing – in general, these are kind of like underground palaces.

Most of the signs at the Moscow Metro now have Latin letters, so it’s very easy to get around!Unfortunately, the trains are not as beautiful and pleasant as the stations but still, this is a true Moscow experience.  Take a guided tour of the 9 most beautiful Metro Stations including the award-winning art deco station. See more details here.

8. Arbatskaya & Artsy Moscow

Novy Arbat Street is one of the most touristy areas in the city, with lots of shops and cafés directed at visitors. When you walk a little beyond, you’ll find a different part of town, where the hip scene thrives because so many artists live in the area. Just follow the small streets with fewer tourists!

9. Moscow State University View

In his effort to create a grander Moscow, Stalin had seven skyscrapers built in different parts of town; they’re called the Seven Sisters. The largest of these buildings hosts the main building of the Moscow State University, one of the most prestigious colleges in Russia – and the one with the best view.

Although this is a little outside the city centre, the sight from above is more than worth it, with the nearby fountains and park and then the whole of the city behind them.

10. Russian Market

If you love to visit markets wherever you go, Moscow has one of the most impressive ones in the world – the Izmailovsky. You can easily take the metro here and feel like you’ve been transported to another time.

This place was first built in the 16th century and retains the look of an old fairytale, with a lineup of colorful old castle. A lovely local experience beyond the confines of the bustling metropolis, where you can also try some delicious Russian barbecue.

Here, you’ll find beautiful souvenirs at great prices.

Off The Beaten Track Moscow

Once you’ve covered the most touristic spots, Moscow still has plenty to offer – and the places below will also be full of locals! Moscow is a city for hipsters, full of trendy and arty spots where you can literally feel the creativity oozing! So for some local vibes, I would strongly recommend my sweat spots below!

11. Patriarshiye Prudy

This is my favorite area in the entire city! While Moscow is generally a very noisy metropolis, Patriarch Ponds is far quieter, yet such a vibrant place. This is a very hip and trendy area making you think you are rather in Paris than in Moscow. Here the streets are narrow and full of chic eateries and clubs to see the local crowd.

A little bohemian and with an air of peace you won’t find anywhere in the city this is a great spot to spend an afternoon with your thoughts.

12. ArtPlay

Barely 15 minutes away from the city center you’ll find the artsiest Moscow district: ArtPlay. For decades, this block was a factory, but it was renovated to become a hub for the arts not too long ago.

Now, you’ll find it’s full of exhibitions, showrooms and art schools – and some of the most creative people in town. Writers, painters, and young hip people use ArtPlay as a rendezvous, and you can feel the creative energy here. The industrial design with modern interior decoration is also a feast for the eyes!

13. Shopping Local Designs

If you’re into design, both international and local, you’ll find lots of cute things at Patriarshiye Prudy. Department store Podium Market is also a great spot for shopping, as a department store everywhere in town, with lots of local and international brands. There’s one in the Four Seasons Hotel next to Red Square. My favorite Moscow mall is Tsvetnoy Central Market, a cool spot with great brands, lots of inspo, and even a cute café!

14. Moscow City

Like many other great capitals of the world, for the past few decades, Moscow has hosted a super modern area full of modern skyscrapers – Moscow City. With a completely different vibe than the rest of town, it’s like a mini Dubai, with lots of impressively tall glass buildings. Here, you’ll find the best rooftops in towns, such as Ruski and Sixty they are perfect spots for dining or enjoying a glass of wine with a view. There are also a relatively new shopping mall with lots of international brands called Affimall!

Wine, Dine, and Party in Moscow

Gone are the gloomy Moscow days – cold as it might be in the winter, Russia’s capital is a place for the senses. Great food and drinks abound – and the clubs are hot, too!

15. Where to Eat in Moscow

Moscow is a great metropolis where people love to dine out, and there are endless options for delicious food. The flavors are as diverse as you’d expect from a big city, with options of fine dining and little hipster eateries. 

  • For traditional Russian flavors, I can’t recommend Café Pushkin, Dr. Zhivago, and Turnadot enough.
  • When looking for international cuisines, Italian is always the way to go, and my local favorite is Probka.
  • Fine dining is best done among the clouds at White Rabbit, with European flavors.
  • As for the hip spots, you can spend a full day just eating around trendy places, from burgers to Asian fusion.

More Dining Options

  • Patriarshiye Prudy offers a lot of small and classy spots with cool concepts, like breakfast restaurants I Love Cake and Fresh.
  • For dinner, I love the NYC experience of Saxon & Parole, and the wonderful trendy Pins, with its delicious food and drinks.
  • For delicious Asian food head to CutFish. 
  • Lastly, there’s a recent revival of food markets in Moscow, offering lots of great choices of international flavors at affordable places.
  • Don’t miss out the Vietnamese food stand at the Danilovsky market, and everything at Usachevsky!

16. Rooftopping

Big cities deserve to be seen from above, having a cocktail among the clouds. These are my recommendations for rooftop bars in Moscow.

  • As I mentioned in the Moscow City section, Sixty & Ruski are two of my favorites, overlooking the newest part of town. 
  • White Rabbit and its fine dining is also a lovely place for a fun dinner looking down on Moscow.
  • O2, in the city center, has an advantage above all others: amazing views of the Red Square.
  • Buono, above the Radisson Royal Hotel, might be the most romantic rooftop hotel in town, with its candlelit setting.
  • Also on the Radisson stands the Mercedes. It’s a luxurious and posh experience with delicious cocktails.
  • The Sky Lounge offers a peculiar experience, mixing an old Soviet building with futuristic additions.

17. Moscow by Night

Party the night away! The city is full of bars everywhere, but there are some areas where you’ll find more than others.

  • Patriarshiye Prudy has lots of hip and small clubs and great bars, including the super fun private club Clava, which has a great vibe and people from all walks of life.
  • For more hipster style bars, Red October is the place to go.
  • Streak is a summer favorite, with a lovely terrace to catch a beautiful sunset – plus, their mozzarella bar is delicious.
  • At night, Red October lights up with clubs everywhere, including the cool rooftop one Gipsy.
  • Jagger is also a great spot during summer with a more relaxed vibe in garden setting. 
  • For the traditional Russian luxury experience, go to SohoRooms, a whole other world including all-night go-go dancers.

There are so many things to do in Moscow at night and during the day, you definitely need several days to explore this exciting destination.

Moscow is a must-see city, a city like no other ! I hope you will enjoy this Russian metropolis as much as I did!

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About Linda Voltaire

Linda Voltaire is the owner of Travel with a Silver Lining, home to reviews of gorgeous boutique & design hotels, hip & trendy eateries as well as authentic and personal travel experiences beyond the crowd. She started blogging after a life-changing trip across South America. Follow Linda at TravelWithASilverLining / Facebook / Instagram /

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10 thoughts on “17 Exciting Things to do in Moscow”

These places look so awesome! Moscow is truly a beautiful city

Very good article, you have explained so nicely. Russia has always been a part of history and its good to know about much more about architecture and other things, wish i could see the inside of façade

Thanks for sharing such a nice article.You have very beautifully explained everything that one need for a trip to Moscow.

Nice article. Love the hidden gems and graffiti art, would love to visit Artplay. Thanks for a comprehensive guide to Moscow!

Moscow is a city where the past and the future live side by side. Here we can find everything from medieval fortresses and Soviet monoliths to glass skyscrapers and innovation centers.

Your article is good and meaningful .

Thanks for sharing about ArtPlay district, we didn’t know about it and it looks amazing 🙂 Hopefully there’ll be a second time in Moscow, we visited last May and really liked the city!

Wonderful stuff! I’ve been to Moscow, but not properly – it’s a long story lol!

Anyhoo, my next thing is to fly from Berlin to Moscow and then travel from there to Beijing via the Trans-Mongolian / Trans-Siberian train. Now, if only I could just find the time …!

I hear Moscow is very beautiful at night. I hope to get out there one day. A friend of mine went to St. Petersburg and had a great experience. Despite all the tension we see on the news with Russia and other Countries like the U.S. I wonder what the sentiment is with Russians and foreigners visiting their country for tourism. Especially Americans.

that looks like quite a beautiful place. 🙂

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