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World’s top tourist attraction revealed 

by Staff
This NYC natural phenomenon is the top travel experience (Image: Getty Images)

The world’s best travel experiences have been crowned – and you might not have heard of the one that tops the list.

Calling all fans of the Big Apple: a natural phenomenon called ‘Manhattanhenge’ in New York City has ranked as the must-see experience, receiving a total of 1,305,760 annual global searches.

Also known as the Manhattan Solstice, this event happens twice a year as the setting sun or the rising sun aligns with the east-west streets of the city’s street grid system.

The term references Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK, which was constructed to allow the rising sun to align with the outer ‘heel stone’ during summer solstice, the two moments of the year when the path of the sun is the farthest north in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you want to book your flights to align with this natural event, you have two options, as it typically occurs around 28 May and 13 July.

The sun sets over Manhattan on 42nd street during Manhattanhenge
‘Manhattanhenge’ occurs twice a year (Image: AFP via Getty Images Source: AFP)

May is likely to be cheaper for accommodation since this is just before high tourist season, and with 4 July (AKA Independence Day in the US), footfall is likely to be higher for the second ‘Manhattanhenge’ event.

In May, New York is moving towards summer but remains one of the wettest months. However, fairly warm weather is still abundant with average temperatures of 20C, though July sees air conditioning-necessitating averages of 29C.



Best things to do in New York City

If you’re firmly sold on the idea of ‘Manhattanhenge,’ why not get your to-do list in check now? Here are some of the best things to do in New York City:

  • Stroll around Central Park (and channel your inner When Harry Met Sally or Sex and the City)
  • Experience a game at Yankee Stadium
  • Watch the river go by at Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  • Grab a coffee and explore the High Line
  • Marvel at the famous Grand Central Terminal
  • Discover some art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Museum of Modern Art.

Elsewhere, Venice Carnival in Italy came second on the list, compiled by Kuoni. The event, characterised by its world-famous costumes and masks, has its origins in the Middle Ages.

Though it was abolished in 1797, it was later revived in 1979, attracting approximately 3 million visitors each year.

The dates vary, but the 2025 festival is scheduled to take place from 22 February to 4 March.

Two people in dresses and masks for Venice Carnival
The Venice Carnival is famous for its ornate costumes and masks (Image: Getty Images)

Keeping with the carnival spirit, Rio Carnival in Brazil, which also takes place in February, came in third place. The biggest carnival in the world, this event sees 2 million people flock to the streets of one of Brazil’s largest cities each day.

And if you’re looking to visit Japan, kill two birds with one stone as the country has two experiences making the top ten: Golden Week in sixth place and Obon Festival in tenth.

Koi shaped kites flying in the sky for Children's Day in Japan
Koi-shaped windsocks celebrating Children’s Day in Japan (Image: Getty Images)

Taking place between 29 April and 5 May, Golden Week marks an array of Japanese holidays, including Shōwa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day and Children’s Day.

Elsewhere, the Obon Festival – also known as just Bon – fuses the ancient Japanese belief in ancestral spirits with the Buddhist custom of honouring one’s ancestors. Seeing families honour their ancestors by flocking to ancestral places and visting graves, the festival lasts for three days and has been marked for over 500 years.



The world’s best travel experiences, according to research by Kuoni

  1. Manhattanhenge, New York, US
  2. Venice Carnival, Italy
  3. Rio Carnival, Brazil
  4. Day of the Dead, Mexico
  5. Chelsea Flower Show, UK
  6. Golden Week, Japan
  7. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, US
  8. Northern Lights in Lapland, Finland
  9. Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
  10. Obon Festival, Japan.


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