Almost everyone went somewhere this year, but there are still places to go. Lots of places. So what are the best destinations for travel in 2024?
“The unprecedented demand for travel we saw last year continued in 2023,” says Zane Bohrer, vice president and general manager of OvationNetwork. “Next year, people will be looking for a deeper, more experiential connection with destinations that are off the beaten path.”
1. Sardinia, Italy
Why visit? Sardinia lures travelers with its luxurious Costa Smeralda, immaculate beaches, and high-end boutique shops. You can explore coastal villages, enjoy fine dining, and indulge in rich local experiences.
Who should go? Beach lovers, food enthusiasts, and Italophiles. History buffs can explore ruins, and culinary aficionados can savor seafood and unique casu marzu cheese, which contains live insect larvae.
Don’t miss: Costa Smeralda’s breathtaking beaches like Porto Cervo Beach, coastal villages, and private yacht charters. (The casu marzu is optional.) “You can explore the Orosei Gulf, visit Orgosolo for street art, or venture into Gorroppu, one of Europe’s largest canyons,” says Fatma Yuceler, a travel advisor with OvationNetwork.
2. Urla, Türkiye
Why visit? Urla, a quiet Aegean coastal town just half an hour from Izmir, is famous for its wineries and vibrant art scene.
Who should go? Urla calls out to those wanting a real cultural experience, wine enthusiasts, adventure-seeking kite-surfers, and those yearning for a peaceful seaside escape.
Don’t miss: Dining family-style at a waterfront restaurant. “To savor most of the menu in one unforgettable meal, order a variety of meze and a fish,” says OvationNetwork travel advisor Krystal Laur, who adds, “Don’t forget to try rakı and Turkish coffee.”
3. Niseko, Japan
Why visit? If you want to experience an unforgettable winter destination outside of the usual U.S. or European spots, Niseko is worth a visit. It’s the top ski area in Japan, and it has many activities on and off the slopes.
Who should go? Avid skiers and anyone who wants an alternative to mountain resorts in the U.S. and Europe, or who wants to experience new parts of Japan that they may have not visited.
Don’t miss: “Make sure to take in one of the many Onsens in the area – these are Japanese hot spring spas and are incredibly relaxing on a day off the slopes,” says James Katz, a travel advisor. “The best are at the Green Leaf Hotel or Yugokorotei Onsen.”
4. Jeju, South Korea
Why visit? Located right off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site that seems a world away from Seoul. It even has its own local dialect and culture. The volcanic island has a tropical climate but is more than just beaches with crystalline water. “The lava caves are a marvel, with some of the longest stalagmites in the world,” says OvationNetwork travel advisor Sylvia Lebovitch.
Who should go? Active travelers, surfers, hikers, and geology enthusiasts will all enjoy Jeju.
Don’t miss: Don’t miss a hike up the caldera full of vegetation. You can trek all the way up to the volcano’s crater lip since it is dormant and has not erupted in over 7,000 years.
5. Orkhon Valley, Mongolia
Why visit? The Orkhon Valley is known for its natural beauty and nomadic culture. You can explore lush landscapes, ancient monuments, and traditional Ger camps, all while enjoying outdoor adventures like horseback riding and hiking. It’s a tranquil escape where you can reconnect with nature and discover Mongolia’s countryside.
Who should go? Anyone looking for cultural immersion and natural beauty, as well as sports enthusiasts looking for polo experiences.
Don’t miss: “When visiting the Orkhon Valley, don’t miss the awe-inspiring Orkhon Waterfall, and historical sites like Erdene Zuu Monastery,” says Benjamin Gluck, a travel advisor.
6. Goa, India
Why visit? Its sandy beaches and sunny weather attract people from everywhere. Visitors compare Goa to the exotic destinations like Hawaii, but much less expensive and with a Portuguese influence.
Who should go? Great for beach lovers. Goa attracts single travelers, families and honeymooners.
Don’t miss: The world-famous Basilica of Bom Jesus Church and Asia’s only naval museum. “Goa hosts the largest floating casino in Asia, and the traditional seafood cuisine is a must,” recommends Harlee Rosenberg, a travel advisor.
7. Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Why visit? Tangalle is known for its long stretches of untouched white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It’s a great place to spend some undisturbed time and indulge in water activities.
Who should go? Tangalle is a haven for those seeking peace and quiet away from the city.
Don’t miss: “The Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is a must,” notes Loretta Ramirez, an OvationNetwork travel advisor. For the nature enthusiast, this coastal wetland area is an ideal place to watch a mix of marine and bird life.
8. Oaxaca, Mexico
Why visit? Oaxaca is primarily known for its indigenous people, the Zapotecs, who account for 40% of Mexico’s indigenous population. “Rich in UNESCO World Heritage food, mezcal, archeology, nature and a great knowledge of spiritual energy, Oaxaca should be on everyone’s bucket list,” advises Terry Bahri, a travel advisor.
Who should go? Oaxaca is for anyone who appreciates an immersive experience including art, gastronomy, history and a true untouched destination with an authentic experiences.
Don’t miss: Don’t miss the local flavors, including the tejate energy drink, made from corn with a foam from white cocoa bean called patlaxtle. The popular tlayuda tortilla is native to the state of Oaxaca and is regarded as iconic in the local cuisine.
9. Comporta, Portugal
Why visit? A rustic paradise near Lisbon with unspoiled beaches, Comporta charms you with understated and sublime luxury.
Who should go? Beach lovers, bird-watching enthusiasts and families looking for a relaxing vacation.
Don’t miss: “You should not miss a lunch at Ilha do Arroz,” says Aanchal Gandhi, a travel advisor, who adds, “You must try the fresh locally caught scarlet prawns and the fan favorite in Portugal: Iberico bellota ham.”
10. San Sebastián, Spain
Why visit? San Sebastián is home to some of the best chefs in the world. It offers an unforgettable gastronomic experience, natural beauty and unique Basque culture.
Who should go? The city is suited for gourmands, culture enthusiasts and outdoor adventure lovers.
Don’t miss: “Be sure to sample San Sebastián’s inventive tapas-style pintxos, dine at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants and try txakoli, a semi-sparkling, fruity wine poured into a tall glass from a height,” says OvationNetwork travel advisor Vibha Dania-Dhawan.
11. Nile River, Egypt
Why visit? After exploring Cairo, the Nile offers a more relaxing way to visit a part of the country where many of the most famous ancient sites are located directly on the river. “Viewing them from the river gives a different perspective that is simply breathtaking,” advises Gina Gabbard, vice president of leisure and independent advisors for OvationNetwork.
Who should go? History and cultural enthusiasts, active travelers, honeymooners, and curious adventurers who want to explore one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.
Don’t miss: A seven-night cruise from Luxor to Aswan to explore more of the region’s sites, including the famous Esna lock, Karnak, the Valley of the Kings and Queens, and the exquisite Temple of Philae. Sail by felucca around Elephantine Island to view the Aga Khan Mausoleum, which overlooks the river. Take a 30-minute flight to Abu Simbel, site of the mesmerizing and impressive temple of Ramses II, built about 3,200 years ago.
12. Marrakesh, Morocco
Why visit? Marrakesh is a captivating city that provides a high-end sense of place with old-world charm while injecting modern-day luxury into historic exploration, attracting a global creative community and celebrating artisans. “With the recent earthquake affecting the countryside, it is important to support the local people and help restore what was lost and begin to rebuild outside the city,” adds Andrew Steinberg, a travel advisor.
Who should go? Great destination for multigenerational trips, couples looking for old-world romance, and those seeking adventure.
Don’t miss: A stroll in the Jemaa el-Fna square, a spa day at one of the luxury resorts with time in one of the best Hammam (baths) and tour Majorelle Gardens.
13. Milos, Greece
Why visit? Milos has over 70 phenomenal beaches, along with memorable sunsets and fishing villages. While it’s becoming a popular destination, it is much less crowded than islands like Mykonos and Santorini. “Its dreamy lunar landscapes are unlike anything else you will see in Greece,” says OvationNetwork travel advisor Mary Wood.
Who should go? Milos is a welcome departure for both couples and families who want a romantic, calm vibe. If you love time at the beach, the options are plentiful and diverse.
Don’t miss: The lunar landscape of Sarakiniko Beach is truly unique, with its stunning white sand and rock formations juxtaposed with clear turquoise water.
14. Iguazu River, Argentina/Brazil
Why visit? Rio Iguazu and its eponymous waterfalls are a spectacular display of power set amongst lush forests that straddle Argentina and Brazil. Considered by most as the eighth Wonder of the World and named in 1984 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the falls comprise hundreds and hundreds of cascades, which spread for miles. The Brazilian side offers better panoramic views, while the Argentinian side gets you closer to the water.
Who should go? “Anyone and at any age should definitely make the journey, combining it with either Buenos Aires or Rio De Janeiro,” says Ben Borelli, a travel advisor. It’s also popular with bird watchers, who can see some of the most important species on the planet.
Don’t miss: Incredible views at Devil’s Throat, the most famous waterfall on the Argentinian side. Various operators offer invigorating boat rides on the river and passing near and almost touching some of the minor falls.
15. Isla Baru, Colombia
Why visit? Isla Baru is the gateway to the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park, Colombia’s only underwater park, renowned for its colorful fish and marine animals, making it a diver’s paradise. Isla Baru also provides a nice respite from Cartagena.
Who should go? Isla Baru is a great alternative destination for a romantic getaway. It’s also ideal for diving or snorkeling.
Don’t miss: “Don’t forget to dive to the mysterious Pablo Escobar sunken plane near Rosario Islands, just a short speedboat ride away,” recommends Frank Dibartolo, a travel advisor with OvationNetwork.
16. Biarritz, France
Why visit? “A Belle Epoque jewel on France’s southwestern coast, Biarritz has long been treasured by Europeans, but has yet to be discovered by the U.S. traveler,” notes travel advisor Fiona Bayne. You’ll find an impressive coastline with wonderful sandy beaches, epic surfing and a huge variety of restaurants.
Who should go? Golfers, horseback riders and surfers will enjoy exploring the picturesque coastline. It’s also an elegant and romantic destination for couples.
Don’t miss: Don’t miss Marche aux Halles. This market is a spectacle, and is also home to noteworthy restaurants and stalls such as Maison Balme, which is known for its omelettes.
17. Pokhara, Nepal
Why visit? Pokhara offers postcard-worthy lakeside scenery with dramatic mountain backdrops, loads of adventure activities, all types of accommodations and food choices. The city’s scene is chilled-out, with bars and restaurants stretching along the shore of the tranquil lake.
Who should go? For adventure seekers, Pokhara is arguably the best paragliding destination on the planet, and it’s surrounded by whitewater rivers that are ideal for rafting. For hikers, it’s the gateway to the world-famous trails in and around the Annapurna mountain range.
Don’t miss: “You have to watch the sunrise from Sarangkot,” says Andrew Williams, a travel advisor. “Locals believe the valley is a sacred place protected by the surrounding mountains. From this vantage point, you can truly feel the enchantment of this destination.”
18. Tallinn, Estonia
Why visit? Tallinn is a vibrant and lively city, rich in culture, located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town and enjoy great food, fascinating history, and access to sea and nature.
Who should go? Estonia is great for everyone interested in an emerging food scene and Nordic culture. OvationNetwork travel advisor Elaine Esposito notes, “Tallinn also keeps the story of Estonia’s strong history from different eras alive with interesting tours, local traditions and a warm and friendly people.”
Don’t miss: Don’t miss The Marzipan Museum, home of one of the oldest sweets made in Estonia, and The Marzipan Painting Workshop. Paint your own marzipan figurine at Maiasmokk Cafe and learn all about its sweet and colorful history.
19. Bergen, Norway
Why visit? Although Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway, it feels more like a small town. Bergen is a cultural hub offering contemporary art, world-class restaurants, and charming gabled houses along the harbor. Bergen also serves as a gateway to the world’s most majestic fjords and soaring mountains.
Who should go? Those seeking adventure and some of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders.
Don’t miss: “The fish market is a must-see and particularly lively with locals,” says Ashley Diamond, a travel advisor, who adds, “Here you can even sample reindeer sausage.”
20. Franschhoek, South Africa
Why visit? Franschhoek is the next big wine destination beyond the more familiar Stellenbosch. The Franschhoek Wine Tram offers hop-on/hop-off transportation to 30 wineries, where guests can do wine tastings and cellar tours. In addition to the vineyard at Babylonstoren, the tram will allow you to explore seven other wine estates in the region during your adventure.
Who should go? “This destination is ideal for those who seek serenity from nature, appreciate fine dining and wine, as well as authentic, yet contemporary accommodations,” notes travel advisor Kherri Jean.
Don’t miss: Babylonstoren, a storied Cape Dutch farm originally built in 1692 that features world-class vineyards, gardens, fine dining and a 5-star hotel and spa. Their recently added garden shop, gelateria and coffee roastery complete the “farm-to-table” philosophy.
21. Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia
Why visit? Nuku Hiva is the largest island in the Marquesas Archipelago in French Polynesia and offers a special destination for travelers. Known for its dramatic waterfalls and well-preserved Polynesian culture, Nuku Hiva allows visitors to travel off the beaten path to reconnect with nature.
Who should go? Nuku Hiva is perfect for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts, along with couples or solo travelers looking for seclusion and relaxation.
Don’t miss: Hike to Vaipo Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in French Polynesia, plunging over 1,100 feet (350 meters). “A hike to the waterfall will take you about five hours through lush tropical rainforests and offers breathtaking views along the way,” says travel advisor Stacy Kristynik, who adds, “You’ll be rewarded with a refreshing dip in the cool pools below.”
22. Easter Island, Chile
Why visit? Easter Island, located 2,100 miles off the coast of Chile, is often referred to as one of the most remote places to visit on the planet. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by azure water and covered with hundreds of archeological sites.
Who should go? Easter Island is the ideal place to visit for both nature lovers and seasoned travelers looking to visit an off-the-grid bucket list destination .
Don’t miss: “A visit to the island is not complete until you visit the over 900 stone pedestals called Moai, which are located all over Easter Island,” notes Barbara Hammer, a travel advisor. “Take a hike around the island to view the wild horses and the spectacular waves that crash along the beautiful coastline.”
23. Lake Saimaa region, Finland
Why visit? “The largest lake region in Europe formed at the end of the last ice age, Finnish Lakeland is a blue wonder of lakes, islands, rivers and canals with gorgeous pine forests. It is truly spectacular,” according to OvationNetwork travel advisor Bob Preston.
Who should go? Nature enthusiasts, active families, anglers, skiers in winter and water sports enthusiasts in summer.
Don’t miss: The annual Savonlinna Opera Festival in the city’s medieval castle and the rock festival in Joensuu.
24. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Why visit? Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most unique ecosystems and geological formations in the world. Few sites provide such a mix of natural beauty, outdoor activity, fresh food, tranquility and accessibility.
Who should go? “Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Ha Long Bay has something to offer everyone,” advises Andrew Lewis Harrison, a travel advisor. “The unique rock formations made up of limestone karsts and islets, add to the magic of this unduplicated location.”
Don’t miss: Visit via a junk boat excursion. But here’s an insider tip: If you’re worried that Ha Long Bay will be too crowded, book a trip north to Bai Tu Long instead.