Top 30 Destinations For 2023/24 By Lonely Planet
Top 30 Destinations For 2023/24 By Lonely Planet. Photo KnowInsiders
Contents

The Lonely Planet, a famous travel guide site, has selected a list of best destinations for food, traveling, relaxing and connecting, learning.

According to Lonely Planet's Senior Vice President of Content and Executive Editor Nitya Chambers the release of Lonely Planet's annual "hot list" of destinations and travel experiences comes at an exciting time to be planning travel. "2023 is shaping up to be the year to get out and explore. With much of the world firmly on the road to recovery, travelers are looking for different locations and experiences."

"The lists celebrate the world in all its wonderful enticing variety," Chambers continues. "Each of the itineraries in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2023 shows how to leave the crowds behind and truly get the heart of a destination."

Top 30 Best Destinations For 2023/24 By Lonely Planet

EAT

1. Umbria, Italy

Italy’s green heart, Umbria is a land unto itself, the only Italian region that borders neither the sea nor another country. This isolation has kept outside influences at bay and ensured that many of Italy's old-world traditions survive today. Travel here and you’ll still see grandmothers in aprons making pasta by hand and front doors that haven't been locked in centuries.

The region is best known for its medieval hilltop towns, many beautifully preserved and dramatically set. The Etruscans, Romans, feuding medieval families and Renaissance artists have all left an imprint, from Orvieto’s great Gothic cathedral to Assisi’s fresco-clad basilica. But nature has played its part too, contrasting the wild beauty of the Monti Sibillini with the gentle fall and rise of green hills and wildflower-flecked meadows.

Foodies are in their element here, with tartufi neri (black truffles), fine cured meats and full-bodied local wines finding their way onto regional menus.

2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

When it comes to street food in Kuala Lumpur; it is not a trend, but rather a way of life. In fact, Kuala Lumpur happens to be as famous for its street food as it is for its skyscrapers and tourist spots, and locals in Kuala Lumpur often end up eating up to six meals a day! In short, the city never fails to disappoint, and if you happen to visit it someday, absolutely take a day out especially to explore the narrow and dusty lanes of the city to experience real food, and the charming effect that it has on everyone, locals and tourists alike!

Top food in Kuala Lumpur

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak is Malaysia’s national dish, and every tourist needs to taste it at least once, lest the experience of enjoying the culture and street food in Kuala Lumpur will remain incomplete. Simple versions of the dish comprise of rice cooked in coconut milk, served with a spicy shrimp paste, peanuts, hard-boiled eggs, and fried anchovies; while more sophisticated and fancier versions may include even fried chicken or chicken rendang on the side.

Char Kuey Teow

Originally from China, Char Kuey Teow is famous street food in Kuala Lumpur, and is, in fact, the favourite Malaysian food for many. The dish comes from the Teochew area and comprises of flat rice noodles that are stir-fried with eggs, prawns, cockles, and sprouts. A lot of street food stalls in Kuala Lumpur also provide Char Kuey Teow with some delicious Chinese sausage, and for those who want it spicier, chilli sauce is always a good option.

Satay

Satay, originally known as sate, is a famous Malay dish, made up with just ingredient: seasoned meat; though the magic lies in the way the meat is seasoned, and the ingredients used for the same. Most satay meat is seasoned generously with turmeric powder and is then grilled on charcoal, to get the smoky flavour that is so loved and cherished by all. Satays are usually served with tangy peanut chutney, and the combination is no doubt one of the best Kuala Lumpur street food.

3. Fukuoka, Japan

Top 30 Destinations For 2023/24 By Lonely Planet
Photo escape

There are approximately 100 food stalls all over the town at night. Not only Ramen noodles but they also serve hotpot, dumplings, Yakitoris, Tempura and other original menus. Yatai is the place where you can meet local people and feel the local atmosphere.

Don't forget to try these dishes once you visit Fukuoka

Hakata Ramen is widely known as the specialty of Fukuoka. It features a richly flavored white pork bone soup and thin noodles. It is common to order a noodle refill(kaedama)in Hakata to enjoy the leftover soup. Ramen is the perfect dish after drinking.

Seafood in Fukuoka is all fresh and cheap as the town is facing the sea! You can try many types of seafood and fish and compare the taste! There are many sushi restaurant serving fatty fresh seafood and Izakaya where you can enjoy gomasaba(mackerel seasoned with soy sauce and sesame), one of the specialties of Fukuoka!

Motsu Nabe is a favorite local hot pot dish that is popular for its rich flavor. It is not just for cold days. In fact, the real pleasure of this famous dish is eating it while sweating on a hot summer's day. Because it has a lot of vegetables in it, motsu nabe is loved for its healthiness and reasonable cost in addition to its flavor, and at one time even sparked a culinary craze all over Japan.

READ MORE: ONLY in JAPAN: Top 7 Wonderful and Weirdest Things

4. Lima, Peru

After Cairo, this sprawling metropolis is the second-driest world capital, rising above a long coastline of crumbling cliffs. To enjoy it, climb on the wave of chaos that spans high-rise condos built alongside pre-Columbian temples and fast Pacific breakers rolling toward noisy traffic jams.

But Lima is also sophisticated, with a civilization that dates back millennia. Stately museums display sublime pottery; galleries debut edgy art; solemn religious processions recall the 18th century and crowded nightclubs dispense tropical beats. No visitor can miss the capital’s culinary genius, part of a gastronomic revolution more than 400 years in the making.

One of the best things to do in Lima is to splurge at one of the world’s best restaurants

Lima has been considered a top culinary destination for a decade and counting, privileged with access to the bounty of exotic produce and superfoods that derive from all regions of Peru. Set aside a budget to spend at one of the handful of world-renowned restaurants located in Lima.

Central and Kjolle offer exciting concepts that focus on tubers, flowers and grains from the Amazon and Andes; discover nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion) at Maido, or greet the godfather of popular Peruvian gastronomy, Gaston Acurio, at Astrid y Gaston.

Local tip: The country’s fusion cuisine, criollo cooking – a singular blend of Spanish, Andean, Chinese and African influences – is without parallel at neighborhood eateries as well as super-chic restaurants.

You should also follow the locals to the best street food stalls.

Thanks to Lima’s street food scene, you can eat out for nearly every meal without breaking the bank. In the mornings, street corners host carts selling quinoa, a warm drink made with the nutritious pseudo-grain, apples and spices like cinnamon and clove. By late afternoon, carts in Parque Kennedy are stocked with the fixings to put together a pan con chicharron (fried pork sandwich) and picarones (fried squash doughnuts drizzled in chancaca syrup).

Local tip: If you want an encyclopedic primer on Peruvian cooking, look no further than Gaston Acurio's Peru: The Cookbook, published in 2015. It features 500 traditional home cooking recipes from the country’s most acclaimed and popular chef.

5. South Africa

South African food is vibrant, cosmopolitan, and truly unique — just like the country’s people and culture.

A mixture of African, Dutch, French, and Malay, among others, have influenced South African cuisine through the decades.

Don't forget to try these foods:

Braai (Barbecue)

Vetkoek (Fried Donuts Stuffed with Minced Meat)

Potjiekos (Small-Pot Food)

Boerewors (Sausage)

Tomato Bredie (Stew)

Durban Bunny Chow (Hollowed-out Loaf of Bread Filled with Curry)

Bobotie

Traditional Koeksisters (Sticky Donut)

6. Montevideo, Uruguay

Rife with Latin American and European influence, Uruguayan food is one of the most delicious and diverse cuisines in South America.

Rich meats, buttery pastries, and refreshing salads all await in this sun-kissed country. And being so close to Argentina means meat lovers are in for a treat.

Best foods in Montevideo

The Chivito / “Little goat sandwich”

The excellence of Uruguayan meat is recognized worldwide, and the quality of beef is essential to prepare this national classic. Its name means “little goat.”

This standout dish of the local cuisine dates back to 1944. The sandwich called by Anthony Bourdain “The Everest of steak sandwiches” is indeed a generous meal, often cut and shared into two, three, or even four servings.

Its variety of ingredients includes bread, grilled beef (churrasco), lettuce, ham, cheese, tomato, a fried egg, and sometimes bacon or cooked onions, traditionally accompanied by french fries.

When visiting Uruguay, don’t forget to have a taste of the famous Chivito, a 100% Uruguayan dish.

The Mate / “Herb infusion”

Famous football players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, or Antoine Griezmann, are often seen with their mate drink in hand (a gourd cured), either upon arrival to training or at a press conference.

The mate is an infusion made of Yerba Mate, which offers a variety of flavors and is rich in caffeine.

To prepare the mate, you carefully pour the yerba into the gourd, and then you pour the hot water. Then the mate is ready to be served, and people drink it via a metal straw (called ‘bombilla’).

In Uruguay, it is common to see people going everywhere with their mate, a trademark of the local culture.

Chaja / “Cake Chaja”

This dessert was created in Uruguay by Orlando Castellano back in 1927.

To this date, the exact recipe has been kept secret generation after generation, including by those who work in the factory where the dessert is made and exported to other countries.

Following the same artisanal process, the cake keeps its tradition intact.

The name Chaja belongs to a bird (crested screamer), native from South America, often seen in Uruguayan lands. The bird’s way of singing (very similar to the sound of the name itself) inspired the name of the cake.

Ingredients for this cake include peaches in syrup, chantilly cream, dulce de leche, layers of sponge cake, eggs, sugar, meringue, and whipped cream.

Its texture is smooth, and the lightness will make you ask for another slice.

Fainá / “Chickpea Flatbread”

Uruguay is a land of immigrants, mostly from Spain, France, and Italy.

The faina is a recipe imported in Uruguayn cuisine by the Italians in 1915.

Originally from Piedmont, northwest Italy, the Guido brothers brought with them their traditions, including the Italian cuisine with the recipe of the “Farinata” that in Uruguay became known as faina.

They created the first mill (Molino Guido) for the production of chickpea flour in Uruguay, becoming famous for the quality and excellence of their products (they also processed peas, lentils, and rice).

JOURNEY

7. Istanbul, Turkey to Sofia, Bulgaria

Night trains are booming in popularity across climate-conscious Europe. And for those prepared to seek it out, the restored Istanbul-Sofia Express (İstanbul-Sofya Ekspresi in Turkish) offers unforgettable cross-border adventure – think an interrupted night’s sleep, late-hour passport checks and stops at remote-feeling towns. This train departs from one of the world’s great cities into European Turkey, threading across fortress-like frontiers into Bulgaria and crossing mountain passes before arriving in underrated and very affordable Sofia. A night in the Yatakli Vagon (sleeping car) delivers as a stand-alone journey, an add-on to a city break or a celebratory post-pandemic ramble across continents.

How to get your tickets

A bed in a four-berth compartment costs $30, with a bed in a two-berth sleeper running you $35. If you’d like the whole sleeper berth to yourself the cost is $65 when booked at Sirkeci station in Istanbul. If you book through DiscoverByRail, expect to pay around $113 – which includes the peace of mind of a guaranteed bed in advance. Tickets are delivered to your hotel in Istanbul.

Public transport in Istanbul and Sofia

With the prepaid Istanbulkart travel card, the regular fare of $.80 from any station in the city to Halkali is halved. A single fare of $.50 on the Sofia metro will get you from Central Station to the key interchange of Serdica, the airport or anywhere else on the network.

Accommodations at either end on the trip

A mid-range hotel in range of Istanbul's key sights starts at $100. If staying in cheaper Sofia, this will be more like $60.

8. Nova Scotia, Canada

Top 30 Destinations For 2023/24 By Lonely Planet
Photo National Geographic

Pretty and peaceful, Nova Scotia is Canada's second smallest province, a peninsula on the eastern edge of the Canadian mainland. But its lengthy coastline is dotted with fishing harbors, sandy beaches, plump islands, and other beautiful places to visit. The scenery varies greatly, from the foggy Atlantic Ocean in the southeast to the tidal salt marshes of the Bay of Fundy in the west and Gaelic highlands of Cape Breton to the north.

In these maritime latitudes, Nova Scotia has a pleasantly breezy if rather damp climate. Summer is bright and sunny, but weather conditions can often cause fog, with snow in winter.

Best places to visit

Cabot Trail

Peggy's Cove

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

9. Bhutan

Bhutan is like nowhere else. This is a country where the rice is red and where chillies aren't just a seasoning but the main ingredient. It's also a deeply Buddhist land, where monks check their smartphones after performing a divination, and where giant protective penises are painted at the entrance to many houses. Yet while it proudly prioritises its Buddhist traditions, Bhutan is not a land frozen in time. You will find the Bhutanese well educated, fun loving and very well informed about the world around them. It's this blending of the ancient and modern that makes Bhutan endlessly fascinating.

Bhutan’s tourism mantra has long been “high value, low impact,” and its aim is simple: to maximize the financial benefits of tourism while minimizing its environmental and cultural impact. It’s a perfect example of the country’s guiding policy of “Gross National Happiness.”

10. Zambia

Why you should visit Zambia

A landlocked country in Southern Africa, Zambia brims with waterfalls, lakes and national parks that make it an ideal destination for learning about history, experiencing culture and (of course) setting out on safari. You’ll find fewer visitors here than in neighboring countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe – making for more intimate experiences with more personal attention from guides.

The over 70 ethnic groups in the country host colorful traditional festivals throughout the year. The Kuomboka ceremony in Western Zambia, for example, involves the Lozi ethnic group migrating from lower flooded land to higher land, complete with a large barge; the Ncwala ceremony in the East sees locals don animal skins to celebrate the annual harvest.

11. Western Australia

Western Australia is incredibly vast and diverse; as the largest state, it covers nearly one-third of the country. From baffling rock formations and ancient Aboriginal sites to sweeping green vineyards of world-class wineries and unbelievably clear ocean waters, Western Australia is the land of endless exploration.

There is a wealth of reasons for travellers to visit Western Australia, especially those who enjoy nature based tourism. The Ningaloo Reef one of the best things to do in WA, allowing visitors to swim straight off the beach and snorkel amongst the enchanting sea life. Karijini National Park, El Questro and the Kimberley in the north offer spectacular waterfalls, plunge pools and gorges for tourists to discover. The ancient Stromatolites in Hamelin Pool are an exceptional attraction in WA, where time has stood still to offer us a glimpse of what life was like billions of years ago. In Margaret River, travellers looking for something to do can explore its famous wineries and enjoy the delicious local produce, or be dwarfed by the breathtaking Karri forests.

12. Parque Nacional Naturales, Colombia

An exquisitely beautiful stretch of white-sand beaches, vast rock formations and untouched rainforest, Tayrona National Natural Park lies in the north of the country, between the skirts of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range and the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Colombia’s most visited park extends across 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres) of land, with a further 3000 hectares (7413 acres) of ocean protected, too. You’ll find access to glorious swimming and snorkeling on a select few beaches; treacherous currents make many others too dangerous for a dip, so it's best to admire them from shore. The trail from the entrance at Cañaveral into the park traces the coast, dropping by beaches where you can take shade beneath a coconut palm or even catch sight of the critically endangered cotton-top tamarin monkeys that call the adjoining jungle home.

At night, choose a hammock, beachside tent or rustic cabin so close to the ocean that the crashing waves will lull you to sleep.

Planning tip: For maximum tranquility, avoid visiting in December and January when the park is packed with backpackers and pleasure seekers.

UNWIND

13. Halkidiki, Greece

The Halkidiki peninsula in Northern Greece is among the world’s best places to relax and unwind, according to international guidebook publisher Lonely Planet, which selected the region among 30 other destinations for its “Best in Travel 2023” list.

Halkidiki peninsula is the most popular destination in Northern Greece.

Located in Macedonia, its popularity is attributed to its amazing beaches, with silky sand and clear turquoise sea waters.

Halkidiki is divided into 3 smaller peninsulas, often referred to as "legs". The first one is the most crowded, with cosmopolitan tourist resorts, the second one is more quiet and popular among campers and the third one, Mount Athos, is a closed Orthodox monastic community and independant state.

14. Jamaica

Why you should visit Jamaica

One of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, tiny but mighty Jamaica packs a lot of punch. The Indigenous Taino people named the island “Xaymaca,” meaning the “land of wood and water” – a lyrical description that evokes the country’s beautiful white sand beaches, scenic mountain peaks, waterfalls and rivers. While one of the Caribbean’s largest countries, Jamaica is fairly easy to explore since its points of interest and attractions are clustered close to one another. Beyond its glorious landscapes, Jamaica’s culture and friendly locals also make for an unforgettable visit. The food, the music and the infectious joy of Jamaicans form memories visitors will take home with them, no matter where they come from.

15. Dominica

The Caribbean island of Dominica, known as Nature Island, is the perfect place to unwind and recharge. Even though Dominica is one of the least-developed Caribbean islands, it still offers plenty to do, most of it nature-based. Boasting 365 rivers, waterfalls of all sizes, soaring mountains, flourishing rainforests, and fantastic snorkeling and diving, it is easy for visitors to immerse themselves in the relaxing power of nature.

When To Go

Temperatures in Dominica are pleasant year-round, but tourists might want to avoid the rainy/hurricane season from June – October. The island is located in the hurricane belt and is no stranger to destructive storms.

How To Get There

Dominica’s airports are too small to handle large planes, so there are no direct flights from the U.S. or Canada. The most popular way to reach the island is on American Airlines’ daily flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

16. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Top 30 Destinations For 2023/24 By Lonely Planet
Photo CNN

The Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat lies in the Coral Triangle. This expanse of 40,000 square kilometers of marine territory and pristine reefs make these waters a diving haven second to none. Reputed to be the most biodiverse marine habitat on Earth, Raja Ampat is home to many species not found anywhere else. Spectacular, other worldly, the stuff of under-water revelries, Raja Ampat is irresistible to divers.

Having long been accessible primarily by liveaboard, accommodation has evolved over the last few years as Raja Ampat’s sojourning options increase. Divers of all levels may be grateful that a variety of resorts and homestays are springing up on these remote islands. Finally, deep-sea adventurers the world-over can enjoy a range of options on how they spend their holidays.

While Raja Ampat was long a magnet for more experienced divers, the steady upsurge in offerings is attracting new devotees enchanted by the area’s holy grail of diving. Along with the growth of bed and board options, the array of visitors both on land and in the pristine waters is also on the increase. Long shut out of these beautiful waters, today’s guests might have beginner certifications with only a few dives under their belt. Some may be diving for the first time, while others may not be diving at all. But none of that is stopping visitors from making the well worth the effort journey to discover the wonders of this coveted region.

READ MORE: Full List of Top 50 Best Places to Live in America Right Now

17. Malta

The weather in Malta is flawless in spring and autumn. The hot summer months bring religious festivals and open – air concerts to life in the villages.

Top places to visit:

  • St. John’s Co-Cathedral
  • Island Of Gozo
  • Popeye Village
  • Golden Bay
  • St. Agatha’s Tower
  • The Parish Church of Mellieha
  • Blue Lagoon
  • The Mnajdra Temples
  • Hagar Qim Temples
  • The Tarxien Temples
Malta has been awarded the “Top Destination to Unwind” Award, alongside destinations such as Halkidiki in Greece and Jordan, with Lonely Planet saying that Malta has been “much-loved by European visitors for decades,” adding that it “is attracting more visitors from around the world, beckoned by its prehistoric temples, fantastic scuba diving and buzzy Valletta, its beautiful capital.”

18. Jordan

Why you should unwind in Jordan

It’s always fun to come to Jordan. You will for sure have new experiences and learn so much about our beautiful culture. Our people are some of the most hospitable on the planet and it’s super fun to interact with them. You’ll also taste some of the most delicious food you’ll ever try…so get ready to eat. A lot.

Things to see

DEAD SEA

The beautiful dead sea is actually a salt lake. This lake is one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet. This excessive saltiness provides an environment where plants and animals cannot exist, thus the name.

AMMAN CITADEL

Amman citadel is located on a hill in downtown Amman overlooking the old city. This historical site dates back to the bronze age and has been ruled by various empires since. Thus the site has a fascinating history and contains ruins of historical structures.

The major historical buildings at the site include a Byzantine church, the Temple of Hercules and the Ummayad palace. The site also has the Jordon archaeological museum built in 1951.

VISIT THE PLACE WHERE JESUS WAS BAPTIZED

Unexpectedly, it is known that Jesus was baptized in Jordan. This holy place, known as Al-Maghtas, lies on the east bank of the Jordan river. This archaeological World Heritage site contains the ruins of a monastery and churches, baptism ponds and much more.

The entrance fee is 12 JOD.

READ MORE: Top 60 Mysterious Places and Things That Blurred by Google Maps, Earth

CONNECT

19. Alaska

Planning your trip to Alaska

Having a successful trip to Alaska starts before you even leave home. Here are some of the key things to think about before you embark for the Last Frontier state.

Early birds get better accommodation

Alaska's summer season is relatively short (May to September) and places to stay fill up quickly. Book accommodation at least two months in advance, especially in smaller towns where choices are limited. The same goes for campgrounds – you won't be the only one looking for a pitch in peak season.

Etiquette in Alaska

Getting by in Alaska means understanding the local way of doing things. Here are some pointers.

Alaska's Native culture

Indigenous people – who prefer to be called Alaska Natives – comprise around 16% of Alaska’s population. Many live in 229 federally recognized villages, and their culture varies widely. Key communities include the Inupiat in the Arctic, the Athabascans in the Interior, the Aleutians in the Southwest, and the Tlingit and Haida in the Panhandle, to name but a few. Sadly, a disproportionate number of Native Alaskans (25%) live below the poverty line.

The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act gave Alaska Native corporations and villages title rights to 44 million acres of land – that might sound substantial but it's only about one-tenth of the state. Due to Alaska’s isolation and late colonization, the state harbors just one native reservation, the Metlakatla Indian Community on Annette Island just south of Ketchikan.

20. Albania

When visiting Albania, it’s hard to pass over the national capital, Tirana. Not only is it the largest city in Albania and the easiest place to start your journey from, Tirana is a fun, lively place to dive into the country’s culture and history. Skanderbeg Square is a worthy starting point as it sits right in the heart of the city and is home to the exceptional National History Museum, identified by the gigantic mosaic on its facade. Other fascinating historical attractions in the city center include the 18th-century Et’hem Bey Mosque and Bunkart 2, one of two Cold War bunkers in Tirana cleverly converted into art and history museums. The city is also full of cafés, bars, and restaurants that create a rich yet affordable nightlife for visitors to joyfully explore.

21. Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana is full of energy and chances to connect with both the city and its people. Frenetic, bustling markets, new community spaces like skate parks and creative spaces for artists to gather plus a nightlife with a great music scene, you can’t help but connect with the people and culture of Ghana.

Connecting to Accra’s people in its community spaces

One place to connect with people in Accra is at the skate park we founded. People around the world came together to create a new playground to empower and celebrate youth. The facility provides skateboards and sneakers for anyone who wants to learn. And we’ve had singers like Kendrick Lamar stop by when passing through town.

Jamestown is the city’s oldest neighborhood – and it is all about creativity. You’ll find art on walls, on the street and on houses. Everybody knows everyone here, and this is really where you can see the culture of Accra come to life. Wander around for yourself and check out the fishing community, the lighthouse and the boxing gyms that have produced many champions like Azumah Nelson.

Connecting to Accra’s culture through the markets

Kantamanto Market is the largest secondhand market in Africa, if not the world. For some people, the markets can feel overwhelming – but they are part of Ghanaian culture and perhaps the best way to understand the dynamic of the city.

Here, you can understand the social and economic impact of fast fashion on the world.

Coming to the market helped convince me four years ago to stop buying new, and start purchasing only from African designers. One shop I love because it celebrates African designers is Lokko House. Founded in 2008, this concept store promotes Africa’s urban art, fashion and creative culture.

Connecting to Accra through music

You can’t talk about Ghanian culture without talking about Ghanian music. If you’re lucky, while you’re in town you’ll get to see me and other artists perform. If you want to party in Accra, you have to come prepared. Events normally start around 3pm and can last into the next morning.

Sandbox is a really beautiful beach club that has a view of the Atlantic Ocean, with tons of food and upscale cocktails to enjoy. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset.

22. Sydney, Australia

Connect with Sydney’s cultural fabric

Morning

Grab a flat white to go from one of Sydney’s countless coffee bars (they’re all good – trust us) and see the city in a new light while scaling the Sydney Harbour Bridge with an Indigenous storyteller guide on BridgeClimb Sydney’s Burrawa Climb. As you ascend the 1332 steps to the summit of what locals call the “coathanger,” your guide will share fascinating insights into Sydney’s rich Aboriginal heritage. If you don’t have a head for heights, join Dreamtime Southern X for a walkabout around The Rocks. On this lively tour, your guide will enlighten you on how Sydney’s Traditional Custodians remain deeply connected to the landscape today, through stories, songs and even native bush tucker and medicinal plants that you might be surprised to find growing in Australia’s largest city.

Lunch

Get another taste of multicultural Sydney by diving into its food scene. Channel Sydneysiders’ deep love for Asian flavors by tucking into pillows of joy at Mr Wong on Bridge Ln, which only serves dim sum at lunchtime. If you’re visiting on the last Sunday of the month, book ahead to feast on Sri Lankan crab curry at Lankan Filling Station in inner-east Darlinghurst. Or pop over to the South Eveleigh precinct (a short walk from Redfern Station) at 11am to beat the queue for a table at the newest restaurant from Australian chef Kylie Kwong, Lucky Kwong, where light and fresh homestyle dishes reflecting the chef’s Cantonese heritage feed the soul as well as the belly.

Afternoon

Wander over to the recently renovated Australian Museum, opposite Hyde Park, to learn more about the Aboriginal story of Sydney and beyond via its superb First Nations exhibitions, designed in collaboration with First Nations peoples and communities to ensure the objects held in the collection are interpreted appropriately. Free to visit, the museum also has an excellent natural sciences collection featuring everything from Australian dinosaur skeletons to specimens of the nation’s deadliest spiders.

Evening

Shimmy into something sparkly for an oh-so-Sydney night out at the Imperial in inner-west Erskineville, just a short walk from the train station. Immortalized in the legendary 1994 film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the historic pub hosts the city’s best Drag N Dine experience at its restaurant Priscillas, with drag artists bringing buckets of sass to the stage from Wednesdays to Sundays. On Friday and Saturday nights, anything goes (and usually does) at the Imperial’s underground Basement nightclub.

Back in the city, the 2021 relaxation of Sydney’s lockout laws (which saw inner-city nightspots refuse entry after 1:30am in an effort to curb alcohol-related disorder) has breathed new life into the Oxford St LGBTQI+ precinct. Party on at the likes of the Colombian Hotel, Ching-a-Lings, or the Burdekin. Not your scene? Take a seat at the handful of tucked-away, European-style wine bars in Sydney’s Inner East (try Dear Sainte Eloise in Potts Point). Or catch a performance by renowned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance company Bangarra, or a show at one of Sydney’s many theaters (you can’t go wrong at the renowned Sydney Theatre Company).

23. Guyana

Guyana’s remote landscapes allow you to connect with other people

Guyana is famous for vast tracts of wilderness, where you often get completely off the grid and can connect fully with your physical surroundings and fellow travelers. When you disconnect from the stressors at home and focus on the present moment, you can build genuine, long-term connections with the people around you, especially in a small tour group.

Given the remoteness of Guyana, you will often find that other travelers who have made their way to the country have a similar mindset and outlook on life as yourself; you may just make a friend for life! Whether they are friends, fellow travelers or locals you just met, you are all living one intense moment together, in Guyana, with forests as far as the eye can see, and memories for a lifetime.

Guyana’s official language makes it easy to connect with locals in English

Guyana is the only South American country whose official language is English, as it is a part of the British Commonwealth given its colonial history. This makes Guyana a particularly attractive destination for English-speaking tourists, because it enables them to communicate easily with local people without the challenge of a language barrier. Speaking the same language as local people gives you opportunities for conversations to learn more about who they are, their lives, their country. No more intricate hand gestures to try and understand each other; you will be able to have deep connections and conversations with them. What better way to truly get to know a place?

Enjoy the unique opportunity that Guyana’s linguistic environment presents – bask in multiculturalism and natural beauty in the comfort of the English language!

24. Boise, USA

Idaho's western side gets very little talk. Nearly seven hours from Yellowstone on the other side of the state, Boise is extremely isolated and far from any major hubs or widely-recognized National Parks.

For a long time, Boise remained overlooked, left to itself. The past few years have seen things change. Locals talk freely about the eye test of their developing city, and the research seems to agree.

It Has A lot of Diversity and Culture for a Small City

Middle of nowhere Idaho is not what you’d expect. The presence of Boise State University and the influx of new residents has brought a mixed crowd to the city, each culture manifesting itself in different ways. The music scene is strong in Boise, with venues like Pengilly’s Saloon (western-style), Neurolux (modern), and High Note Café (local vibe).

Take note of the up and coming public art scene, headlined by Freak Alley, where murals and street art dominate the city’s alleyways.

Boise is also home to the largest Basque population outside of Spain—most came as miners and shepherds back in the 1800s. Stroll through the Basque Block of downtown Boise, visit the historic museum and boarding house, and have an authentic Basque lunch of paella and pintxos at the Basque Market.

LEARN

25. Manchester, UK

It’s a city for students

With such a huge student population, the city and surrounding areas cater to students everywhere you go. Great food is everywhere and it’s affordable, with street markets and quirky cafés popping up all over the city and plenty of student deals available for you to experience all the cuisines Manchester has to offer. There are whole areas dominated by students – Oxford Road, which hosts three different universities, and Fallowfield, the student hub a short bus ride from the University of Manchester, home to halls of residence and student housing that make it feel like its own student village.

People from Manchester – known as Mancunians – are famous for being friendly, but it’s not just Mancunians you’ll interact with. It’s estimated that there are around 41,000 international students in and around the city, so wherever you’re from, you’ll be sure to meet an incredibly diverse range of people when you study here.

READ MORE: Top 10 Happiest Travel Places In The World to Visit

26. New Mexico, USA

Known as the Land of Enchantment, the state of New Mexico in the southwestern United States, lives up to its nickname. Home to 23 native tribes, this is an ideal spot to learn about indigenous culture, art and music while also enjoying the food and natural beauty of the American Southwest.

Albuquerque

The state’s “big city,” Albuquerque is known around the world as the site of the annual International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in October. Albuquerque’s location between the Rio Grande and the Sandia Mountains creates an ideal climate for hot-air ballooning, and visitors can enjoy this magical experience all year long.

A late-afternoon trip up the Sandia Peak Tramway is the perfect way to take in a world-famous sunset. Plan to have dinner and a drink at the top of the peak, but remember to plan for the extra-high elevation and drink plenty of water.

For unique shopping, check out Old Town, Los Ranchos and the Nob Hill areas for lots of locally owned businesses and quality vintage and mid-century modern stores.

27. Dresden, Germany

Top 30 Destinations For 2023/24 By Lonely Planet
Photo crazy tourist

Dresden, one of Europe's greatest Baroque cities, about 30 kilometers north of the border with the Czech Republic, stands majestically astride the Elbe River. It was the seat of the Saxon rulers, who lavished their attention on its riverside palaces and soaring churches, and left the city with their vast collections of art and antiquities.

This wealth of historic artifacts – it even includes beautifully preserved royal clothing – is displayed today in world-class museums. However rich Dresden's treasures and proud its heritage, modern history has not been kind to the city. Dresden suffered the double blow of almost complete destruction in World War II, followed by 45 years of postwar neglect under the Soviet regime.

It's hard to believe all this from the Dresden you see today. It has risen from its ashes and bears few scars from its late 20th-century trauma. Palaces glitter, gardens bloom, and the dome of the magnificently restored Frauenkirche again stands out above the skyline.

28. El Salvador

Rejuvenated and forward looking, there is a momentum building in this stunningly beautiful Central American country. El Salvador's idyllic beaches are catching the attention of professional surfers from around the world. The country is quietly becoming the place where those in the know come to catch waves and hone their surfing skills.

El Salvador offers almost everything travelers to Latin America are looking for, just three hours by plane from Miami: sunny beaches, quaint colonial towns, stunning volcanoes, colorful handicrafts, low prices and arguably the finest cuisine in Central America.

It is compact, with dramatic topography and excellent (main) roads. You could literally surf La Libertad all morning, relax over lunch in Spanish Colonial Suchitoto and watch sunset from a chilly 8000ft (2400m) at Hostal Miramundo – and only spend about four hours total in the car.

All of this makes El Salvador an easy escape for North Americans on a long weekend. If time is no object, however, two to four weeks would be ideal.

Budget travelers can enjoy El Salvador on $40 per day, and much less if you plan carefully. Mid-range travelers will be comfortable on $100 per day (not including rental car). Luxury lovers will find a small selection of excellent resorts and restaurants for about half what they’d pay in more-popular Latin American destinations.

Travelers may read the international criticism of El Salvador’s current government and worry that their money is supporting it. There is some truth to that. On balance, however, I think tourism favors the little guy – Jack Ma taught himself English as a tour guide, after all. Think before you spend, and try to support local businesses with El Salvador’s best interests at heart.

29. Southern Scotland

The south of Scotland has some of the most historic and beautiful locations you will ever come across. Many of our star attractions have ties to the great poet Robert Burns. So to put it somewhat poetically, once you have visited Scotland, you will forever desire the air you breathed, the scents you smelled and the senses you discovered on your travels here.

What’s the one place someone should visit to get a better understanding of Southern Scotland?

Grey Mare’s Tail. While I’ve never enjoyed hiking (I’m more of a dive-right-into-the-water type of guy), when I discovered this tall waterfall, I agreed to the 45-to-80-minute hike to the top. And let me tell you, it is worth every single step. When you reach the top and look out at one of the most beautiful lochs Scotland has to offer (Loch Skeen), you will be mesmerized

What’s a signature dish they should try?

The Scottish are well known for eating the offal pudding haggis (though I don’t happen to be a fan). You can eat haggis in fine-dining style at the Globe Inn in Dumfries.

If someone wants to buy a souvenir, what would you recommend?

I’d have to recommend something tartan, or else a bottle of Scotch whisky. You can get these items elsewhere, but will they have been made with love by a Scotsman/woman? I recommend stocking up at Annandale Distillery in Annan.

30. Marseille, France

Grit and grandeur coexist seamlessly in Marseille, an exuberantly multicultural port city with a pedigree stretching back to classical Greece and a fair claim to the mantle of France's second city. Once seen as somewhat dirty and dangerous, and lacking the glamour of Cannes or St-Tropez, this black sheep of the Provençal coastline has blossomed in cultural confidence since its 2013 stint as the European Capital of Culture. The addition of a brace of swanky new museums is just the outward sign of an optimism and self-belief that's almost palpable.

What’s the one place someone should visit to understand Marseille?

Notre-Dame de la Garde, the basilica that overlooks the whole city and where sailors hang small boats to bring good luck.

What’s a signature dish someone should try?

A slice of pizza from one of the trucks in the city

If someone wants to buy a souvenir, what do you recommend?

Some panisses from l'Estaque. You can even take a boat trip with the city navette to go there.

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