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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

World's Best Places to Visit

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

With a world full of fascinating destinations, choosing the perfect vacation spot can present a challenge. That’s why U.S. News used expert opinions, user votes and current trends to compile this list. We hope these recommendations can help you craft your travel bucket list. Cast your vote below to help us determine next year's list. Take a photo tour of the World's Best Places to Visit »

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Gold Badge #1 Great Barrier Reef

Gold Badge #1 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: The world's largest coral reef system boasts incredible scenery, whether you view it underwater, from the air or by boat. Though plenty of diving and snorkeling spots can be found along Queensland's coast, to escape the crowds, take an excursion to Hamilton Island. Read More »

Aquatic Life
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Gold Badge #2 Paris

Gold Badge #2 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Year after year, the magnetic City of Light draws travelers looking to cross the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame off their bucket lists. But what visitors really fall in love with are the city's quaint cafes, vibrant markets, trendy shopping districts and unmistakable je ne sais quoi charm. Read More »

Paris at Night
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Gold Badge #3 Bora Bora

Gold Badge #3 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: It's hard not to be enchanted by this paradisiacal destination: Lush jungles extend into sky high volcanoes and sands stretch into upscale resorts. Remember, though, that a trip to this Pacific paradise does not come cheap. Read More »

Welcome to Bora Bora
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Gold Badge #4 Florence

Gold Badge #4 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: The historic city of Florence offers plenty of world-famous attractions, including the Duomo, the Piazzale Michelangelo and the Piazza della Signoria. After appreciating the city's Renaissance architecture and art, sample some of the region's delectable Tuscan food and wine. Read More »

Il Duomo
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Gold Badge #5 Tokyo

Gold Badge #5 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Temples, markets and museums are just some of the offerings you'll find in the bustling, tech-centric city of Tokyo. And thanks to the city's abundance of free attractions, you'll be able to visit top spots like Tsukiji Market and the Imperial Palace without breaking the bank. Read More »

Tokyo at Sunrise
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Gold Badge #6 Cusco

Gold Badge #6 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Known as the heart of the Inca Empire and the archaeological capital of the Americas, Cusco offers plenty for history and architecture buffs to enjoy. If you're up for a challenging, yet life-changing experience, try hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Read More »

Cusco
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Gold Badge #7 London

Gold Badge #7 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: 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. Be sure to visit the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the British Museum during your stay. Read More »

London in the Sun
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Gold Badge #8 Rome

Gold Badge #8 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: When you visit the Eternal City, prepare to cross a few must-see attractions – the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, to name a few – off your bucket list. Additional treasures like St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel can be found in nearby Vatican City. Read More »

Rome
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#9 New York City

#9 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: New York City hosts infinite urban adventures: Wander through Central Park, tour the exhibits at the Met, catch a Broadway show or peruse SoHo's stylish boutiques. And at night, admire Manhattan's glittering skyscrapers from the top of the Empire State Building. Read More »

Buzzing Times Square
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#10 Maui

#10 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Maui – one of the most beloved of all the Hawaiian Islands – lives up to its superlatives with exotic beaches (like Kaanapali Beach), palatial resorts (like the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea) and lush terrain (as seen in Iao Valley State Park). Read More »

Hula Dancing
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#11 Cape Town

#11 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: This South African city appeals to adventure seekers and mellow travelers alike. Kick-start your day by climbing Table Mountain. Afterward, sunbathe along Clifton Beach's khaki-colored sands or tour the vineyards of Constantia Valley. Read More »

Ascending Table Mountain
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#12 Barcelona

#12 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Though known for its fútbol team, Barcelona boasts much more than athletic talent. The city is a feast for the eyes: Visitors can walk past medieval architecture in the Barri Gòtic and Gaudi's unique creations at Güell Park. Meanwhile, Las Ramblas buzzes at all hours. Read More »

View of Barcelona
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#13 Sydney

#13 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: This metropolis offers more than just a dizzying array of landmarks (e.g., the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge). Sydney boasts a warm, sunny climate ideal for enjoying local beaches like Coogee and Bondi. Read More »

Sydney Opera House
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#14 Rio de Janeiro

#14 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Rio de Janeiro is arguably South America's hottest spot – and not just for its warm weather. The famous Christ the Redeemer statue sits above Copacabana Beach, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a livelier event than Rio's Carnival. Read More »

Rio
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#15 Yellowstone

#15 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: More than 3,000 square miles of nature's finest canyons, geysers and rocky cliffs are an easy sell for nature enthusiasts. Geothermic wonders like the Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful and Yellowstone Lake are not to be missed at this national park. Read More »

Inspiration Point
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#16 Amsterdam

#16 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Though Amsterdam's notorious Red Light District and coffee shops can still be found in the city, more family-friendly attractions have sprouted up in recent years. Some of Amsterdam's must-see spots include the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and the Verzetsmuseum. Read More »

Herengracht Canal
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#17 Hong Kong

#17 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Hong Kong is worth visiting for its one-of-a-kind cultural fusion. Only here will you find a Disney theme park rubbing elbows with ancient temples. Peruse a street market, ride the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui pier or check out the views from atop Victoria Peak. Read More »

Hong Kong Skyline
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#18 Cairo

#18 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Cairo's high temperatures and ancient charm continue to draw in tourists every year. The Giza Pyramids – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – can be found here, plus historic neighborhoods like Coptic Cairo. Read More »

Sunset at the Pyramids of Giza
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#19 Washington, D.C.

#19 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: With a trove of iconic monuments, it's no wonder why our nation's capital is one of America's most-visited cities. Exploring the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian Institution's museums can easily fill several days. And the best part is: So much is free to visit. Read More »

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool
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#20 Grand Canyon

#20 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Measuring roughly 277 miles long and 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon offers plenty of outdoor activities for adventure junkies. Popular things to do include hiking the Bright Angel and Rim trails and going whitewater rafting on the Colorado River. Read More »

Grand Canyon at sunset
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#21 British Virgin Islands

#21 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: If picturesque beaches and warm weather are what you're after, look no further than the British Virgin Islands. For easy access to Smuggler's Cove, Brewers Bay and other top-notch BVI beaches, consider staying on Tortola, the territory's largest island. Read More »

Snorkeling in the BVI
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#22 Bali

#22 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Serene temples and beaches are the biggest draws to this lush paradise. You'll also have plenty of opportunities to interact with monkeys and elephants while exploring Bali. To avoid the region's notorious wet season, consider visiting between April and October. Read More »

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Sunrise
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#23 San Francisco

#23 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Gourmet restaurants, funky boutiques and laid-back vibes are just some of San Fran's charms. A ride on the cable cars and a visit to Alcatraz are musts. And, of course, don't forget to check out the city's crowning architectural achievement – the Golden Gate Bridge. Read More »

Golden Gate Bridge
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#24 Argentine Patagonia

#24 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Jaw-dropping landscapes make this South American destination a quintessential spot for adventure travelers to visit. While wandering Argentine Patagonia, you'll see everything from picturesque lakes to towering glaciers and mountains. Read More »

Hikkers Trekking Across Glacier National Park
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#25 Budapest

#25 in World's Best Places to Visit

Why go: Budapest is a sure standout for any trip to Eastern Europe. The city caters to a wide range of traveler types and budgets with its variety of hotels and restaurants. Thermal baths and world-class museums are just some of the attractions you'll find here. Read More »

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Montreal

Vieux-Montreal

Montreal

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Phuket

Sailing onto Shore

Phuket

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Dubai

Dubai

Dubai

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Galápagos Islands

Galápagos Islands

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