The City of Light draws millions of visitors every year with its unforgettable ambiance. Of course, the divine cuisine and vast art collections deserve some of the credit as well. The gentle River Seine rambles through the city, flanked by stately museums, centuries-old churches, and blocks of Rococo- and Neoclassic-design architecture, further enhanced by cascading trees and glowing streetlamps. Peppering the Seine’s cobbled walks and graceful bridges are impossibly chic Parisians, probably on their way to the market, cafe or cinema.
Containing world-class museums, fashion, cuisine and an atmosphere all its own, Paris is also a city of “many splendors,” as Ernest Hemingway recalled in his memoir, “A Moveable Feast.” Visit the beloved Musée d’Orsay, shop the biggest designers on the Champs Élysées or hit the boutiques in Le Marais, take in the view atop the Eiffel Tower, or even plan a day trip to Versailles Palace. But don’t miss out on the simple pleasure of meandering the marvelous arrondissements (districts), or snacking on street crepes either.
South Island, New Zealand
#2 in World’s Best Places to Visit
New Zealand’s South Island brims with majestic landscapes at every turn, from dramatic mountains to fjords to glaciers. Here, you can explore Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Area, or gaze at the starry skies at Mount John Observatory. You can also indulge your inner daredevil in Queenstown, explore two of the most accessible glaciers in the world on the west coast or sample delicious food and wine in Marlborough
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Rome, the city of seven hills, enjoyed a mythic beginning. Romulus and Remus – twin brothers who were nursed by a she-wolf and fathered by a war god – reportedly founded the Eternal City. And although historians are a little skeptical about this epic entry into the world, most travelers are absolutely certain that there is something magical about Rome. Whether it’s the mystery of nearby Vatican City or the ghosts of the Colosseum, an afternoon caffè on Piazza Navona or a piled-high plate of pasta at a trattoria, Roma is sure to enchant.
Italy’s capital city, Rome is also known for a history that dates back to the eras of Octavian, Julius Caesar and Hadrian, among others. Left behind are structures like the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and dozens of churches, among other historic gems. Art enthusiasts will relish the trove of art housed at the Vatican Museums, and foodies will enjoy the splendid Italian fare, not to mention the gelato. And though its momentous past is the focus for many vacationers, Rome is also a fast-paced, modern and relevant city, with gleaming designer storefronts, sleek hotels and cutting-edge restaurants.
#4 in World’s Best Places to Visit
Travel to this island – the largest in French Polynesia – if you’ve been dreaming of a vacation spent lazing in a lavish overwater bungalow. Beyond the posh resorts, Tahiti boasts black sand beaches, a bustling capital and prime snorkeling and surfing conditions. Luxurious five-star resorts abound here, but the easiest (and cheapest) way to experience this paradise is on a cruise
#5 in World’s Best Places to Visit
London is a world unto itself. The eclectic neighborhoods, which house a blend of historic landmarks and modern-day attractions, can keep you occupied for days. If it’s your first time, don’t pass up a visit to the Tower of London, Tate Modern, Buckingham Palace or the British Museum before sitting down to a classic afternoon tea. The best time to visit is during the warmer months, but be warned that these months are also the busiest and most expensive of the year.
#6 in World’s Best Places to Visit
Whether you’re driving along the Road to Hana, enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the lush coastline from a helicopter, snorkeling with sea turtles or simply relaxing on the island’s honey- or black-colored beaches, you’ll find that Maui is unlike any other tropical destination. Don’t miss a chance to visit Haleakala National Park, which is home to the world’s largest dormant volcano
#7 in World’s Best Places to Visit
What this small island may lack in size it makes up for in sheer tropical beauty. Here, you’ll find picturesque beaches, lush jungles, luxurious resorts and a dormant volcano – Mount Otemanu makes for a great photo op or challenging hike. To relax, head to Matira Beach for crystal-clear water and soft sand. Keep in mind that a trip to Bora Bora is very expensive, though travelers say it’s worth every penny
#8 in World’s Best Places to Visit
Located in southern Thailand, Phuket offers something for everyone, especially budget-minded travelers. Everything from accommodations to spa treatments to boat tours come with a low price tag. For stunning scenery, check out the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay and the white sand beaches of the Phi Phi Islands (accessible by boat from Phuket). Other must-sees include Wat Chalong Temple and the Big Buddha
#9 in World’s Best Places to Visit
Measuring roughly 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and a mile deep, the Grand Canyon offers plenty of outdoor activities for everyone from day-trippers to adventure junkies. Hike along the national park’s popular Rim and Bright Angel trails for unparalleled vistas, cool off with a whitewater rafting excursion down the Colorado River or view the dramatic landscape from above during a helicopter tour
#10 in World’s Best Places to Visit
Year after year, millions of visitors travel to Yosemite National Park to stand in awe of natural wonders like Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Take in the panoramic views from outlooks like Glacier Point and the Tunnel View. Hit the hiking trails early in the day to avoid crowds looking for the perfect photo op. To save money, skip the hotel and camp out for the full experience (just be sure to book your spot well in advance).