50 Best Vacation Destinations in the World

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50 Best Vacation Destinations in the World David Sim, Creative Commons, AFP
01 Sydney
25. Sydney, Australia. Top attractions: Bondi Beach, Opera House, Harbor Bridge and Taronga Zoo. CC0 Creative Commons

If politics, the daily news, weather and general life stress have got you down, why not opt for an escape? Exciting travel destinations abound for you to get out of your comfort zone or simply relax in style. Newsweek, along with sites such as Trip Advisor, has culled together the top locations for your vacation—be it a weekend getaway or a weeks-long adventure into the unknown. 

While the number-one reason Americans travel is to visit relatives, the U.S. Travel Association reported that shopping, visiting friends and rural sightseeing are the top drivers for tourism. Many cities and countries are growing their tourism industries to meet this demand, offering great markets and bargains as well as opportunities for ecotourism. Indonesia’s Bali, for example, is known as a shopper’s paradise but also calls those interested in gorgeous beaches and historic sites.

Roughly one in four people say they will travel alone in 2018, a figure on the rise, according to marketing firm MMGY Global. Bustling metropolises such as New York, London and San Francisco are great places for a solo traveler who might want to fill their days with sightseeing and museums, before spending their nights enjoying a nice meal. Lisbon, Portugal and Sydney, Australia, are also known as great, friendly destinations for those traveling on their own.

If you’d rather keep your travels stateside, oft-overlooked cities such as Minneapolis, Minnesota and Boulder, Colorado offer a host of activities —from outdoor activities in the Rocky Mountains and snowy fun along Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, to a booming brewery culture in both states. Visit the beaches in sunny San Diego and far-out Kauai, where you’ll find stunning coastlines and many opportunities to engage with nature.

You can also visit the further-flung locations of Haifa, Israel, whose gardens are known the world over and whose caves hold religious significance, or Crete in Greece. The latter is the site of empires past and also a very culinary present. Other locales have experienced a cultural shift in recent years, offering a booming tourism industry. Cartagena, Colombia, Brasil’s Rio de Janerio and Mexico City are among the destinations in this category.

02 Rio
24. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Top attractions: Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, the Christ the Redeemer statue and views from Corcovado and Sugarloaf mountains. CC0 Creative Commons
03 Cusco
23. Cusco, Peru. Top attractions: Coricancha Palace, Church of Santo Domingo and trips to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. CC0 Creative Commons
04 New Delhi
22. New Delhi, India. Top attractions: Swaminarayan Akshardham, Lodi Gardens, Humayun's Tomb and Jama Masjid. Money Sharma/AFP
05 Hurghada
21. Hurghada, Egypt. Top attractions: Snorkeling and scuba diving around coral reefs, and trips to the Giftun Islands and Eastern Arabian Desert. Flickr/Pierre Gorissen
06 Hong Kong
20. Hong Kong, China. Top attractions: Tian Tan Buddha, Harbor night cruise, shopping and views from Victoria Peak. Dale de la Rey/AFP
07 Kathmandu
19. Kathmandu, Nepal. Top attractions: Boudhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Temple, Pashupatinath Temple and trips to Langtang National Park in the Himalayas. CC0 Creative Commons
08 Tokyo
18. Tokyo, Japan. Top attractions: Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Sky Tree and shopping in the Ginza district. Flickr/hans-johnson
09 Dubai
17. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Top attractions: Luxury resorts, world class shopping and views from Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. Tom Dulat/Getty Images
10 Lisbon
16. Lisbon, Portugal. Top attractions: Sao Jorge Castle, Belem Tower, Oceanarium, Elevador de Santa Justa and the city's many trams. David Sim
11 Playa del Carmen
15. Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Top attractions: Beaches, golf, Xcaret Park and Muyil Mayan ruins. Flickr/andrewarchy
12 Jamaica
14. Jamaica. Top attractions: Beaches, diving and snorkeling, Dunn's River falls, Dolphin's Cove and Bob Marley Museum. CC0 Creative Commons
13 Siem Reap
13. Siem Reap, Cambodia. Top attractions: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Bayon. David Sim