Get ready to start planning your 2024 adventures! I've compiled the ultimate bucket list of the top 24 best places to travel next year based on rising destinations, countries bouncing back from tough times, hidden gems, and changing traveler demands. From tropical islands like Bali and Maldives to historic European cities like Tallinn and Lake Saimaa in Finland, these hot spots offer incredible experiences for every type of traveler. Using insights from travel experts worldwide, I hand-picked spots that should be on your radar if you love outdoor adventures, historic architecture, beach resorts, or incredible cuisine. I'll give you the inside scoop on why you should visit each place, who should go there, and the top attractions you won't want to miss. Let the 2024 wanderlust begin! Which destination speaks to your traveling soul?
1. Sardinia, Italy
Why go? With its glamorous Costa Smeralda, pristine beaches, and upscale boutiques, Sardinia lures travelers in with luxury. Explore quaint coastal villages, savor refined cuisine, and indulge in rich local experiences.
Who should visit? Beach lovers, foodies, and Italophiles. History buffs can explore ruins, while foodies can savor seafood and the maggot-infested cheese casu marzu.
Don't miss: The breathtaking beaches of the Costa Smeralda, like Porto Cervo, coastal villages, and private yachts. "You can explore the Gulf of Orosei, visit Orgosolo for its street art, or venture into Gorroppu, one of Europe’s deepest canyons," says travel advisor Fatma Yuceler.
2. Urla, Turkey
Why go? Urla, a laid-back Aegean coastal town 30 minutes from Izmir, is famed for its vineyards and dynamic art scene.
Who should visit? Urla appeals to those seeking true cultural experiences, wine lovers, adventure-seeking kitesurfers, and travelers looking for a peaceful seaside getaway.
Don't miss: A family-style dinner at a waterfront restaurant. "To enjoy most of the menu, order an array of mezes and a fish entree," says travel advisor Krystal Laur. "Don’t forget to try rakı and Turkish coffee."
3. Niseko, Japan
Why go? If you want to experience an unforgettable winter destination beyond the usual American or European spots, Niseko is a must-visit. It's Japan's largest ski resort and offers plentiful on-mountain and off-mountain activities.
Who should visit? Avid skiers and anyone wanting an alternative to US and European mountain resorts, or to experience new regions of Japan they may have never visited before.
Don't miss: "Be sure to take advantage of one of the many onsens in the area. These are traditional Japanese hot springs that are incredibly relaxing after a day on the slopes," says travel advisor James Katz. "The best are at Green Leaf Hotel or Yugokorotei Onsen."
4. Jeju Island, South Korea
Why go? Located off South Korea's peninsula, the UNESCO World Heritage site Jeju Island seems a world away from Seoul. It even has its own dialect and culture. The volcanic island has a subtropical climate yet is more than just crystal blue beaches. "The lava tubes are a wonder, with some of the longest stalagmites in the world," says travel advisor Sylvia Lebovitch.
Who should visit? Active travelers, surfers, hikers, and geology buffs will appreciate Jeju.
Don't miss: Don't skip hiking the vegetation-filled caldera. You can climb up to the rim of the volcano crater, as it's dormant and hasn't erupted for over 7,000 years.
5. Orkhon Valley, Mongolia
Why go? The Orkhon Valley is famed for its natural beauty and nomadic culture. Explore lush landscapes, ancient monuments, and traditional Ger camps while enjoying outdoor adventures like horseback riding and hiking. It's a peaceful getaway to reconnect with nature and discover rural Mongolia.
Who should visit? Anyone seeking cultural immersion and natural beauty, along with sports enthusiasts looking for polo experiences.
Don't miss: "When visiting Orkhon Valley, don't miss the impressive Orkhon waterfalls and historical sites like Erdene Zuu monastery," says travel advisor Benjamin Gluck.
6. Goa, India
Why go? Its sandy beaches and sunny climate draw travelers worldwide. Visitors compare Goa to exotic destinations like Hawaii but far cheaper and with Portuguese influence.
Who should visit? Ideal for beach lovers, Goa attracts singles, families, and honeymooners.
Don't miss: The famous Bom Jesus Basilica and Asia's only Naval Aviation Museum. "Goa is home to Asia's largest offshore casino and the traditional seafood cuisine is a must-try," recommends travel advisor Harlee Rosenberg.
7. Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Why go? Tangalle is famed for its long stretches of pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It's a peaceful place to spend time relaxing and partaking in watersports.
Who should visit? Tangalle is a haven for those seeking calm and tranquility away from the city hustle and bustle.
Don't miss: "Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary is a must," says travel advisor Loretta Ramirez. For nature lovers, this coastal wetland is the perfect spot to observe a mix of marine life and birds.
8. Oaxaca, Mexico
Why go? The city of Oaxaca is best known for its Zapotec indigenous people, who make up 40% of Mexico's indigenous population. "Oozing with UNESCO-listed cuisine, mezcal, archaeology, nature, and spiritual energy, Oaxaca should be on every bucket list," advises travel advisor Terry Bahri.
Who should visit? Oaxaca appeals to those who appreciate an immersive experience involving art, gastronomy, history, and an untouched destination with authentic experiences.
Don't miss: Don't miss the local flavors, including the corn and cacao bean drink tejate and the popular tlayuda tortilla that hails from Oaxaca state and is an iconic part of local cuisine.
9. Comporta, Portugal
Why go? A rustic paradise close to Lisbon and its untouched beaches, Comporta woos with its understated, sublime luxury.
Who should visit? Beach lovers, birding enthusiasts, and families seeking relaxing holidays.
Don't miss: "Don’t miss lunch at Ilha do Arroz," says travel advisor Aanchal Gandhi. "You must try the fresh local red shrimp and the Portuguese favorite, acorn-fed Iberian ham."
10. San Sebastian, Spain
Why go? San Sebastian is home to some of the world’s top chefs. The city offers an unforgettable gastronomic experience, natural beauty, and unique Basque culture.
Who should visit? The city appeals to foodies, culture vultures, and outdoor adventure seekers.
Don't miss: "Don't miss sampling inventive pintxos in San Sebastian, dining at one of many Michelin-starred restaurants, and trying txakoli, the slightly sparkling, fruity local wine," says OvationNetwork travel advisor Vibha Dania-Dhawan.
11. The Nile, Egypt
Why go? After exploring Cairo, the Nile offers a more relaxing way to visit a section of the country where many iconic ancient sites sit right along the river. “Seeing them from the river gives a different perspective that is simply breathtaking,” says OvationNetwork's VP of Leisure and Independent Advisors Gina Gabbard.
Who should visit? History and culture buffs, active travelers, honeymooners, and curious adventurers wanting to explore one of the planet’s oldest civilizations.
Don't miss: A seven-night cruise from Luxor to Aswan to explore other sites like the famed Esna lock, Karnak, Valley of the Kings & Queens, and exquisite Philae Temple. Sail on a felucca around Elephantine Island to admire the Aga Khan's mausoleum overlooking the river. Take a 30-minute flight to Abu Simbel, where Ramses II's imposing temple was built some 3,200 years ago.
12. Marrakech, Morocco
Why go? Marrakech is an enthralling city that delivers high-end experiences with old-world charm while injecting modern luxury into historical exploration, attracting a global creative community, and celebrating artisans. “With the recent earthquake affecting the countryside, it’s important to support the local population and help restore what’s been lost and begin rebuilding outside the city,” adds travel advisor Andrew Steinberg.
Who should visit? An ideal destination for multigenerational travel, couples seeking old-world romance, and adventure-seekers.
Don't miss: A stroll around Jemaa el-Fna square, a day at one of the luxury spa resorts with time in one of the city’s top hammams, and visiting the Majorelle Gardens.
13. Milos, Greece
Why go? Milos boasts over 70 phenomenal beaches, memorable sunsets, and quaint fishing villages. While an increasingly popular destination, it’s far less crowded than islands like Mykonos and Santorini. “Its surreal dreamy lunar landscapes are like nowhere else in Greece,” explains OvationNetwork travel advisor Mary Wood.
Who should visit? Milos makes an idyllic destination for couples and families seeking a romantic, peaceful atmosphere. If you enjoy beach time, options abound.
Don't miss: Sarakiniko’s moonlike landscape is truly unique, with its surprising white sand and juxtaposed rock formations bordering clear turquoise water.
14. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
Why go? The Iguazu River and its namesake waterfalls are a spectacular demonstration of power amid lush forests straddling Argentina and Brazil. Considered by most as the eighth wonder of the world and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, the falls consist of hundreds of cascades that extend for miles. The Brazilian side offers superior panoramic views, while the Argentine side brings you closer to the water.
Who should visit? “Anyone of any age should make the trip, combining it with Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro,” says travel advisor Ben Borelli. The falls are also a top spot for birdwatchers, who can observe some of the planet’s most vital bird species here.
Don't miss: The unbelievable views of Devil’s Gorge, the most famous fall on the Argentine side. Several operators offer exhilarating boat rides on the river, passing some smaller falls and nearly getting sprayed by others.
15. Isla Baru, Colombia
Why go? Isla Baru is the gateway to Rosario and San Bernardo Coral Reef National Park, Colombia's only underwater national park, famed for its colorful fish and abundant marine mammals, making it a diver's paradise. Isla Baru also offers a pleasant respite from nearby Cartagena.
Who should visit? Isla Baru makes an ideal alternative destination for a romantic getaway. It's also perfect for diving or snorkeling.
Don't miss: "Don’t forget to dive down to Pablo Escobar’s mysterious sunken plane near Rosario Islands, just a short speedboat ride away," recommends OvationNetwork travel advisor Frank Dibartolo.
16. Biarritz, France
Why go? "The Belle Époque town of Biarritz on France's southwestern coast has long been favored by Europeans but has yet to be discovered by American travelers," notes travel advisor Fiona Bayne. You'll find a striking coastline with magnificent sandy beaches, epic surf spots, and diverse restaurant options.
Who should visit? Golfers, equestrians, and surfers will enjoy exploring the picturesque coastline. It's also an elegant, romantic destination for couples.
Don't miss: Don't skip the Les Halles market. The market is a spectacle but also home to remarkable restaurants and stalls, like Maison Balme, known for its omelets.
17. Pokhara, Nepal
Why go? Pokhara delivers picture-perfect lake views, spectacular mountain backdrops, endless adventure activities, and all types of lodging and dining options. The town has a relaxed vibe, with bars and restaurants stretching along the shores of a serene lake.
Who should visit? For adventure lovers, Pokhara is arguably the world’s top paragliding destination, and the town is surrounded by world-class whitewater rivers ideal for rafting. For hikers, it’s the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit’s world-famous trails.
Don't miss: “You absolutely must do the sunrise at Sarangkot”, says travel advisor Andrew Williams. "Locals believe the valley is a sacred spot protected by the surrounding mountains. From this viewpoint, you can really feel the enchantment of the destination."
18. Tallinn, Estonia
Why go? Tallinn is a lively, culturally rich city located on the Baltic Sea coast. Visit the UNESCO-listed Old Town and enjoy great food, fascinating history, and access to the sea and nature.
Who should visit? Estonia makes an ideal country for anyone interested in emerging cuisine and Nordic culture. OvationNetwork travel advisor Elaine Esposito notes "Tallinn preserves Estonia’s history through the ages with fascinating tours, local traditions, and warm, friendly people."
Don't miss: Don't miss the marzipan museum, home to one of Estonia’s oldest confectioners, and the marzipan painting workshop. Paint your own marzipan figure at Café Maiasmokk and learn all about its sweet, colorful history.
19. Bergen, Norway
Why go? Though Bergen is Norway's second-largest city, it feels more like a small town. Bergen is a cultural hub with contemporary art, world-class restaurants, and charming pitched-roof houses along the harbor. Bergen is also a gateway to the world’s most majestic fjords and towering mountains.
Who should visit? Those seeking adventure and some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders.
Don't miss: “The fish market is a must and quite lively with locals,” says travel advisor Ashley Diamond, who adds, “You can even taste reindeer sausage there.”
20. Franschhoek, South Africa
Don't miss: Babylonstoren, a historic Cape Dutch farm built in 1692, featuring world-class vineyards, gardens, fine dining, a 5-star hotel, and a spa. The newly added garden shop, gelato bar, and coffee roastery complete the “farm-to-table” philosophy.
21. Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia
Why go? Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia and a special destination for adventurous travelers. Known for its spectacular waterfalls and well-preserved Polynesian culture, Nuku Hiva allows visitors to get off the beaten path and reconnect with nature.
Who should visit? The island of Nuku Hiva is ideal for adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts, as well as couples or solo travelers seeking solitude and relaxation.
Don't miss: Hiking to the breathtaking Vaipo Falls, the highest waterfall in French Polynesia, plunging over 350 meters. "The hike to the waterfall will take you about five hours through lush tropical forest and provide jaw-dropping views," explains travel advisor Stacy Kristynik, adding "You'll be rewarded with a refreshing swim in the pools below."
22. Easter Island, Chile
Why go? Easter Island off the Chilean coast is often regarded as one of the most remote places on the planet. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by azure waters and dotted with hundreds of archaeological sites.
Who should visit? Easter Island appeals to nature lovers and seasoned travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination.
Don't miss: "No visit to Easter Island is complete without seeing the 900 stone pedestals called Moai located all over Easter Island," notes travel advisor Barbara Hammer. "Take a hike around the island seeing the wild horses and spectacular waves crashing along the magnificent coastline."
23. Lake Saimaa region, Finland
Why go? "Europe’s largest lake district formed at the end of the last ice age is a blue wonderland of lakes, islands, rivers, and canals with magnificent pine forests. It is truly spectacular," says OvationNetwork travel advisor Bob Preston.
Who should visit? Nature lovers, active families, fishermen, winter skiers, and summer water sports enthusiasts.
Don't miss: The annual Savonlinna Opera Festival held at the medieval town’s castle and the Joensuu Rock Festival.
24. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Why go? UNESCO World Heritage site Ha Long Bay is one of the most unique ecosystems and geological formations on earth. Few sites offer such a mix of natural beauty, outdoor activities, fresh food, tranquility, and accessibility.
Who should visit? “Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, foodie or adventurer, Ha Long Bay has something for everyone,” says travel advisor Andrew Lewis Harrison. "The unique rock formations made up of limestone karsts and islets add to the magic of this special place.”
Don't miss: Experiencing the bay via an overnight junk boat tour. But here's an insider tip - if you're worried about Ha Long Bay being too crowded, book a tour farther north to Bai Tu Long instead.