The World’s 30 Best Places to Visit in 2019-20 Part 3


10. Yosemite National Park, California

For travelers who love to hike, rock climb, horseback ride and raft along scenic routes filled with wildlife, Yosemite has just what you’re looking for. Yosemite Valley features some of the world’s most impressive waterfalls, including Bridalveil Fall, Sentinel Fall and Yosemite Falls. Along with numerous thundering cascades, this national park boasts a large population of towering sequoia trees. There are also various hikes to guide you through the massive national park, which lead to monumental rock formations life Half Dome and El Capitan.

9. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Grand Canyon definitely lives up to its name: Stretching along 277 miles of the Colorado River, this iconic American landmark offers biological diversity and awe-inspiring landscapes at every turn. Start at Grand Canyon Village, the most popular entryway to the park and home of Yavapai Point, one of the best places to gaze at the canyon. From there, let the Rim Trail or North Kaibab Trail lead you to lookout points and riverside campgrounds. The park is open year-round, and each season offers different stunning scenery. However, dry and sunny weather in spring and fall months enables visitors to hike along the Grand Canyon’s many different trails and raft down Colorado River.

8. Phuket, Thailand

With plunging waterfalls, outstanding (and cheap) street food and nearly 30 beaches to choose from, Phuket welcomes millions of visitors every year. An outdoor enthusiast’s playground by day and a party animal’s paradise by night, this mountainous island has it all. For picture-perfect views, travelers should plan to visit Patong beach, Phang Nga Bay and Promthep Cape. Visitors will encounter daily reminders of Buddhism, Thailand’s official religion, through towering temples and the Big Buddha statue on Mount Nagakerd. What’s more, Phuket’s colorful shrines, elephant sanctuaries and Laem Hin Pier, which features floating restaurants that dish out fresh seafood, are sure to impress.

7. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Surrounded by black rock mountains, hibiscus flowers and cerulean lagoons, Bora Bora is lauded for its peaceful atmosphere. This French Polynesian archipelago attracts couples with secluded floating villas at various overwater resorts, which rest atop a diverse marine ecosystem. Venture out of your serene hideaway and hike through the island’s extinct volcano (Mount Otemanu), surrounded by a string of coral islets. The shallow, warm waters are perfect for first-time snorkelers, and experienced water sports enthusiasts can enjoy activities like kayaking, Jet Skiing and paddleboarding. Regardless of whether you’re a beach bum, an adrenaline junkie or somewhere in between, this pristine island will no doubt captivate you.

6. Maui, Hawaii

Framed by verdant mountains, beautiful beaches and colorful flora, Maui makes for an incredible getaway. Visitors can enjoy torch-lit hikes through Ka’eleku Cave, scuba diving excursions in the crescent moon-shaped Molokini Crater and sunrises over Haleakala’s shield volcano. Maui also boasts some of the biggest surfing waves in the world (at Paia shore) and excellent windsurfing conditions (at Ho’okipa). Whether you stay at one of the world-class resorts in Wailea or Lahaina, or a modest hotel in Kahului, the 30 miles of shoreline are within easy reach.

5. London

Whether walking along upscale Oxford Street, discovering quirky Dover Street boutiques or watching a performance in the West End theater district, lively London has something for all types of travelers. Big Ben, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace are among the dozens of world-famous landmarks that visitors can see here. What’s more, the London nightlife scene is unmatched, from its spirited pubs to its edgy clubs. The only challenge you might face is deciding where to eat: This melting pot offers an overwhelming variety of mouthwatering cuisine. Some of London’s must-try meals include a Sunday roast and nandu varuval (Indian-style soft shell crab).

4. Tahiti, French Polynesia

Coral gardens, warm water and overwater bungalow resorts are a few of the many characteristics that make Tahiti a jewel in the crown of French Polynesia. Water sports enthusiasts can surf at Papenoo beach or see manta rays, sea turtles, hammerhead sharks and dolphins glide by while scuba diving into vast lagoons and crystal-clear waters. This scenic island invites visitors to see its colorful grounds through off-the-beaten-path hikes along waterfalls and volcanoes. Tahiti’s multicultural influences also make for some uniquely delicious cuisine. Meats and vegetables prepared in a hima’a (an underground oven) and poisson cru (Tahitian tuna ceviche) are must-eat dishes, but resorts also offer staple American meals for less adventurous eaters.

3. Rome

Rome’s mouthwatering handmade pasta and pizza will definitely please your palate, but getting a taste of Italian flavor in the Eternal City goes beyond its heavenly dishes. Where classical architecture is second to none, Italy’s cosmopolitan capital seamlessly integrates ancient ruins, columns, piazzas and small-town charm into the most highly populated area of the country. Explore the monumental Colosseum, discover the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City and make a wish at the Trevi Fountain – you’ll find authentic cultural history around every corner. As they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and enjoy la dolce vita while you can in this ancient city.

2. South Island, New Zealand

One of the top outdoor destinations in the world, New Zealand’s South Island possesses some of the purest landscapes and offers ample opportunities for adrenaline-fueled activities. A trip here is incomplete without visiting the “Adventure Capital of the World,” Queenstown, where risk-takers can cross bungee jumping, paragliding and skydiving off their bucket lists. Hiking, biking and boating are also great ways to see the breathtaking scenery here. This island’s numerous national parks feature extremely diverse terrain to explore, including glaciers, lakes, peninsulas, mountains and beaches. Whether taking a leap of faith at Mount Cook or watching Milford Sound’s pastel-colored sky dissolve into stars, this island is marked by endless exploration.

1. Paris

The City of Love, with its focal point grounded by the iconic Eiffel Tower, appeals to travelers with its charming culture and intimate atmosphere. If the way to your heart is through your stomach, indulge in Paris’ culinary delicacies, from its rich savory meals to its remarkable pastries. Let intuition guide you down cobblestone streets as you listen to the language of love and explore the illustrious architecture along the banks of the Seine. Travelers should also plan to visit the Louvre and shop along Boulevard Saint-Germain, then take a seat in a cafe and simply watch the world go by.

Courtesy of USNews