The Ultimate Travel Bucket List 2018: 50 Must-See Destinations Ranked by Most Popular, Trendiest and Most Overrated

Maybe it’s touring the Colosseum, or walking along the Great Wall of China. Maybe it’s finally seeing the world from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, or floating 1,400 feet below sea level in the Dead Sea. Most of us have at least a short list of the places we want to see before we die – the so-called “bucket list”. Whatever the state of your list, it’s never too late to start checking off those can’t-miss destinations.

To get you started, we’ve built the ultimate travelers’ bucket list – the most up-to-date collection of places you shouldn’t miss in 2018. We scoured tips from a variety of noted travel publications and expert travel editors, such as Travel + Leisure, The Travel Channel, and Condé Nast Traveller. We compiled a list of all the destinations and attractions they mentioned, then analyzed this data to determine which places are the most popular, the trendiest, and the most overrated.

Whether you’re dreaming of the Northern Lights or ready to head Down Under, click on a link below to jumpstart your bucket list in 2018:

The Top 50 Travel Bucket List Destinations and Attractions

Without further ado, below are the top 50 travel bucket list locations (including both destinations and attractions), ranked in order of the most frequently mentioned to less mentioned by travel experts.

  1. Machu Picchu
  2. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  3. Bora Bora
  4. Petra, Jordan
  5. Athens
  6. Beijing
  7. Easter Island
  8. Galapagos Islands
  9. Great Barrier Reef
  10. Great Wall of China
  11. Iguazu Falls
  12. Rio de Janeiro
  13. The Grand Canyon
  14. Angel Falls
  15. Budapest
  16. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  17. Chichen Itza Mexico
  18. Christ the Redeemer – Rio De Janerio, Brazil
  19. Cinque Terre
  20. London, England
  21. Moscow, Russia
  22. New York City
  23. New Zealand
  24. Paris
  25. Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
  26. Pompeii
  27. Prague
  28. Rome, Italy
  29. Santorini
  30. Singapore
  31. Stonehenge
  32. Vancouver
  33. Yosemite National Park, CA
  34. Alaska
  35. Auckland in New Zealand
  36. Dead Sea
  37. Dubrovnik
  38. Glacier National Park
  39. Iceland
  40. Namibia
  41. Fiji
  42. Kyoto in Japan
  43. Las Vegas
  44. Lhasa, Tibet
  45. Matterhorn, Switzerland
  46. Mount Kilimanjaro
  47. New Orleans
  48. Ngorongoro Crater | Tanzania | Africa
  49. Siem Reap in Cambodia
  50. Sydney, Australia

While this is an impressive list that’s sure to excite a world traveler, not everyone can fit 50 trips in a single year. So, we dug a little deeper into the data to help you create a short list of must-see places for 2018.

The 10 Most Popular Destinations

To determine the most popular destinations, we gathered the most recent data we could find on the number of annual visitors to each destination on our complete list; thus, the sources may differ from location to location. The top 10 destinations with the most annual visitors are ranked below, beginning with the destinations with the highest number of annual visitors.

10 Most Popular Destinations

China is drawing visitors in droves in recent years, with two cities earning a spot among the most popular travel destinations. Naturally, there are several major European cities earning a place in the top 10, but only one city in the U.S.A. made the top 10 – none other than Sin City itself, Las Vegas, Nevada. Click on a location for more information about each destination:

  1. Beijing, China
  2. Kyoto, Japan
  3. Las Vegas, USA
  4. Sydney, Australia
  5. Lhasa, China
  6. Rome, Italy
  7. London, England
  8. Moscow, Russia
  9. Singapore
  10. Paris, France


1. Beijing, China

Visitors: 285,000,000 (2016, Source: ChinaDaily.com)

Beijing, China

Image via Flickr by Xiquinho Silva

The capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is a bustling city that serves as the political, cultural, and economic center of the nation. It’s one of six ancient cities in China, so it’s rich not only in cultural experiences, but historical significance, as well.

What the Experts Say: 

“Beijing, nicknamed The Forbidden Kingdom, is best known for its enigmatic imperial history. Set foot on the Forbidden City where emperors once ruled. Explore the labyrinthine hutongs with a pedicab ride. Contemplate in the Temple of Heaven or the lakefront Summer Palace. Beijing is the best place, too, to take off for a hiking conquest to the Great Wall. Keep your energy level in check before venturing into shopping and haggling at Beijing’s many markets for Chinese crafts, pearls, gadgets, tea and antiques. And you can’t leave without sinking your teeth on crispy juicy Peking duck. Beijing cuisine is as much represented in posh restaurants as it is in stalls at the night markets. If the city sounds all-culture and religion for you, try its late-night bars, jazz bands, Peking opera and performances, and cocktails on late-night boat rides. Beijing is the place to enjoy noisy haggling, a quiet cup of tea, or a solemn prayer with monks while marveling at dizzying skyscrapers and rapid progress.” VacationAdvice101.com 

“There’s no better way to get a good feel for a country than to visit its capital city. China’s land mass is enormous, its population is insane and its capital city, Beijing, is hands down one of the most impressive cities in the world. I spent 5 days and 4 nights there, but within my first 30 minutes in the city, I knew I’d have to go back. Beijing is big, historical, modern and sexy, yes, cities can be sexy, do not debate this with me.” – Kyle Bernard, Drift Away Travel; Twitter: @DriftAway2015

“The Chinese capital city is one of the culturally rich cities in the world. Technological advancements and mass productions keep happening on one side of the city whereas, on the other side, the city maintains its ancient world charm intact.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Beijing has a vast and rich history dating back to almost 3000 years. The city had a truly blossoming time under Kublai Khan in AD 1215. Imperial palaces were built, streets were broadened, temples constructed and canals completed. Ever since then the city has kept growing and its popularity has of today reached unimaginable scale and richness.” – Nancy Eben, 100PlacestoVisit.com; Twitter: @100places2visit

2. Kyoto, Japan

Visitors: 5,6840,000 (2015, Source: Asahi.com)

Kyoto, Japan

Image via Flickr by Pedro Szekely

Ancient temples, tea ceremony masters, centuries-old craftsmanship, and ryokan inns are just a few of the things that stand out in Kyoto, giving the city a cultural vibe that’s distinctly unique from the futuristic, fast-paced capital, Tokyo. Kyoto once held the title of capital city for more than 1,000 years, from 794 to 1868, and is still home to more than 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Kyoto is the ideal stop during a visit to Japan when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city or simply want a glimpse at ancient history.

What the Experts Say: 

“North to south through Japan. It’s a country I’ve obsessed about from afar ever since I was given my first origami kit as a kid. Those pretty, pretty papers led me on to the delicate watercolour-like landscapes, the another-worldly culture that veers from blindingly beautiful to brilliantly bonkers – and sushi.

“Bullet trains make this epic journey do-ably nippy – if you didn’t get off you could ride the whole 1,941 kilometres in just 12 hours. But I’d make it rather more leisurely, starting off skiing (poorly) the perfect powder of Niseko on Japan’s most northerly island, Hokkaido, before wiggling down through the classics in Tokyo (for the new Aman hotel) and Kyoto. And to finish? Hop on a flight to the white-sand beaches of the Okinawa islands (‘Japan’s Hawaii’) which reach out down towards the tropics – here, Hoshinoya Okinawa is just the spot to do absolutely nothing.” – Fiona Kerr, Word of Mouth editor, Condé Nast Traveller; Twitter: @cntraveller

“If you love the ambiance and feel of ancient Buddhist temples, Kyoto is the apt place for you. Located on the Honshu Island, Kyoto was the former capital of Japan. It is known for its huge palaces, magnificent gardens, serene Buddhist temples and authentic wooden accommodations.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“When the wind blows, the entire forest [Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan] will fill with the magical music of nature. Sagano bamboo forest also featured on the list of 100 soundscapes of Japan by the ministry of environment. One of the main temples of Kyoto is also located near the Sagano bamboo forest. It was built back in 1339 by Shogun Ashikaga Takauji.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“My long-standing interest in Japan took root during the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano. I’d start my trip with a few days of skiing at the Hakuba Happo-One resort that hosted the Alpine skiing events. Then on to Tokyo, where I want to eat my way through the city’s izakaya, noodle shops, and sushi bars. Finally, a visit to Japan’s Edo period capital in Kyoto to see the gardens and architecture.” – Alex Arnold, photo editor, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

3. Las Vegas, NV, USA

Visitors: 42,936,109 (2016, Source: LVCVA.com)

Las Vegas, NV, USA

Image via Flickr by Joseph De Palma

A visit to Las Vegas, NV should be on everyone’s bucket list. They call it Sin City for a reason, and it’s an experience like no other. Hotels are abundant in the city, making it possible to find reasonable accommodations most of the time – which is a good thing considering you’ll need that extra cash for the casinos. When you need a day to unwind, Red Rock Canyon boasts incredible views. About 20 minutes from the city, it’s an excellent way to spend the day when you need a break from the constant hustle and bustle of Vegas.

What the Experts Say: 

“Slots aren’t thrilling enough? Zoom from zero to 60 mph in 3 1/2 seconds in a Ferrari F430 GT at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.” – Jennifer Chen, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“Known around the world for its casinos, fabulous shows, elaborately themed mega-hotels, and legendary nightclubs, the lights in Las Vegas never turn off. Despite being set in hot and dry climate of the Nevada desert, this city is never short on refreshments to quench your thirst or air-conditioning and pools to cool you off. The best way to enjoy lavish Las Vegas is on foot, so you can avoid being stuck in its regularly bad traffic. Be sure to check out the internationally acclaimed Cirque du Soleil, the roller coaster ride at New York New York, SkyJump at Stratosphere, and various comedy and magic shows located throughout ‘the Strip’. If you still have energy, you can even explore the beautiful red rock country right outside the city—hiking, rock climbing, jeep tours and mountain biking are very popular, and a great way to spend the day before setting out on the town for a memorable night.”VacationAdvice101.com

“When staying in Vegas you want to stay on ‘the strip.’ This is where all the action is and is easily walkable from the hotels here. When staying off the strip, yes you may save some money on the hotel (not much) but you are going to be spending it on cabs or buses to get you around. The strip offers budget friendly hotels all the way up to high roller suite hotels, there is something for everyone’s taste and budget. Most hotels have state of the art casinos and relaxing pools. With the pools and almost year-round nice weather, you can still take an afternoon or day to sit poolside and relax. Even if you don’t gamble take some time to go through the hotel lobby’s and casinos, each have their own theme or signature elements.” – Nicole DeForest, Toronto Caribbean; Twitter: @TOCaribNews

4. Sydney, Australia

Visitors: 33,300,000 (2016, Source: DestinationNSW.com.au)

Sydney, Australia

Image via Flickr by Lenny K Photography

Sydney, Australia has something to offer for everyone. Just for starters, it’s home to the Royal National Park, the second oldest protected park in the world, next to Yellowstone, which features pockets of subtropical rainforest, dramatic cliffs, secluded beaches, and more. Once you get the Royal National Park crossed off the itinerary, you might enjoy a visit to Chinatown in the heart of Sydney, shopping at one of several weekend markets, a day spent lounging at one of Sydney’s incredible gold sand beaches, or a stroll on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And of course, a visit to the Great Barrier Reef is a sought-after experience (and just so happens to earn its own spot on our ultimate bucket list). There’s much to explore and experience in Sydney, so much so that you might need a separate bucket list just for your visit here.

What the Experts Say: 

“This is one of Australia’s most beautiful and largest cities. Opera House, Sydney Harbour, Royal Botanical Gardens and the 268m tall Sydney Tower are some of the must-see attractions here.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Sydney is renowned worldwide for its quality of life and attractions. It’s a land of beautiful beaches, amazing museums and galleries, opera, parks, delicious food and better public transport system. Sydney opera house is the architectural icon and the most prominent attraction of the city. It is famous for its shell shaped sails roofs and looks stunning from all sides. Every year Sydney opera house hosts more than 1500 performances.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“The major entry point to Australia – Sydney is one of the most enchanting tourist spots in the world. Situated in the state of New South Wales, between the two coastal cities of Newcastle and Wollongong, on Australia’s south-east coast, Sydney is the largest, oldest, and perhaps the vibrant of all the metropolitan cities in the country.” – Wolfgang Jaegel, 100PlacestoVisit.com; Twitter: @100placestovisit

“This big Australian city has a lot to discover. Sydney is for nature lovers, with lush parks, fig groves and wildlife-filled sections of bush blended into gorgeous blue water at every corner. Sydney is for beachgoers and watersport enthusiasts, offering several harbors and plentiful splendid beaches upon which to lie and bronze. And Sydney is for culture seekers, home to the world famous Sydney Opera House, the Cricket Grounds sports stadium, dance and theater companies, art galleries, and heritage displays. The style here is loud, glitzy and in your face, but that doesn’t mean unrefined. Serious wine and fine cuisine can be found throughout the Harbour City, alongside pubs offering beer and sporting matches on screen. Be sure to visit the internationally-known Bondi Beach, and reflect on your Sydney experience while the Pacific Ocean laps at your feet.” VacationAdvice101.com

5. Lhasa, Tibet

Visitors: 23,000,000 (2016, Source: ChinaDaily.com)

Lhasa, Tibet

Image via Flickr by Michael Rehfeldt

Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet (formally known as the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China), and it’s one of the highest cities in the world. You know what that means: breathtaking views! Lhasa translates literally to the “Place of the Gods,” and it’s easy to see just how fitting that moniker is. For instance, the spectacular view of the red and white Potala Palace that looms over the city is sure to take your breath away. It is, after all, the highest ancient palace in the world, with its tallest point towering 300 feet above the city and 12,300 feet above sea level. There’s plenty of cultural richness to take in throughout the city, from the Jokhang Temple to the Sera Monastery and so much more.

What the Experts Say: 

“I once read a book called ‘Dalai Lama, My Son,’ which is a memoir written by the 14th Dalai Lama’s mother. She talks about all of the training her son had to go through, how he was chosen for the honorary title, and the places he lived. Lhasa was once the Dalai Lama’s winter home, and the palace houses almost 1,000 rooms, hundreds of paintings, and chapels. This kind of history is something I dream of seeing in person.” – Erika Owen, senior audience engagement editor, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“Although China often stops issuing Tibet travel permits to foreign visitors, Lhasa (the capital city of Tibet) should definitely be added to your travel bucket list if you’re planning on visiting the Land of Dragons and nearby areas.

“‘The Roof of the World’ is without doubt one of the most remarkable places to visit in Asia. It offers fabulous monastery sights, breathtaking high-altitude treks, amazing cultural and religious experience as well as authentic Tibetan food you will not find anywhere else in the world.” – Agness Walewinder, JourneyWonders.com; Twitter: @journeywonders

“Spirituality, religion and philosophy are interwoven into the very fabric of the city; both literally, in the prayer flags draped across temples and figuratively, in their deep roots in the local culture.

“Find your spiritual path in Lhasa by joining pilgrims, present and past, on the Barkhor Street Pilgrimage route; stopping to engage in debate with nuns and philosophize with Buddhist monks. Arrive at the golden Jokhang Temple, revered as the most sacred place in Tibet, or find yourself at the infamous Potala Palace – former home of the Dali Lama.”WildChina.com; Twitter: @WildChina

6. Rome, Italy

Visitors: 19,500,000 (2015, Source: Wikipedia)

Rome, Italy

Image via Flickr by Kosala Bandara

Vatican City is one of Rome’s biggest draws, where you might even catch a glimpse of the Pope. Visit the world’s largest church, St. Peter’s Basilica, or the Sistine Chapel, or take a tour through one of Rome’s multiple museums. If your travels through the city take you by the Trevi Fountain, be sure to toss a coin in over your shoulder to signify a return visit to the Eternal City. Italy’s efficient train system makes it possible to experience nearby sights and cities as well during a trip to Italy, such as Milan, Venice, Naples, and Florence. To top if all off, you’ll get to experience some of the finest cuisine in the world while you’re in Rome.

What the Experts Say: 

“This is the capital city of Italy and is known for its Colosseum, Roman Forum and all other indications of the once powerful and invincible Roman Empire. Do not miss the churches, cathedrals, museums housing masterpieces and the holy Vatican City, when you come here.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Rome the capital city of Italy and is known for its rich history, which spans over two and a half millennia. Ancient Rome was a thriving city whose famous denizens, such as Julius Caesar, Augustus, and the poet Virgil, are still studied heavily throughout academia. Now often called ‘The Eternal City,’ Rome today is one of the most important tourist destinations around the world. This being said, it can be very crowded during the high season, but that should not deter you. The art and architecture of Rome’s museums and historical sites, as well as its food, landscape, and culture, are known internationally. The Colosseum, where the ancient Roman Gladiators used to fight for the entertainment of emperors and citizens, is one of the world’s Seven Wonders. Unique renaissance architecture is found throughout Rome, as well as religious sites such as the Vatican, the Pantheon and many churches and cathedrals. There is so much to do and see in Rome, you probably wont be able to fit everything in during one trip—but that just means you’ll have several return visits to look forward to.” VacationAdvice101.com

“Just like you can’t really get New York pizza outside of New York, you can’t really get Roman pizza outside of Rome. There are certain foods that are special in Rome. Roman artichokes, fried or braised, are a delicacy all by themselves. And in case you didn’t know, spaghetti alla carbonara was invented in Rome.” – Elyssa Bernard, RomeWise.com; Twitter: @romewise

7. London, England

Visitors: 19,100,000 (2016, Source: Standard.co.uk)

London, England

Image via Flickr by Dragan

Whether you’ve always wanted to see Buckingham Palace (home to Queen Elizabeth II) with your own eyes or are intrigued by impressive architecture (both modern and historical) and tradition, a visit to London, England is a must for the world traveler. Some of the best museums and galleries in the world call London home, and many of them offer free admission. Coupled with great shopping opportunities, spectacular food, and incredible views, a visit to London is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What the Experts Say: 

“Located on River Thames, London is the capital city of England. It is famous for the iconic clock tower, Big Ben, which is located in the Westminster Building. London is known for its nightlife, parks, educational institutions, entertainment options, churches, shopping places, galleries, museums and a lot more.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“From Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge to the London Eye and Big Ben, London has no shortage of amazing sites in which to visit and linger. In the heart of the United Kingdom, London is a culturally rich and tech-filled home of numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Library and 40 West End theatres. One of the leading global cities of the world, it also offers cosmopolitan shops and boutiques, and sought after restaurants and food stalls. Whether you are traveling alone or with friends and family, London is an ideal place for an exciting trip. History, art, theater, fashion, food and sport—it’s all here.” VacationAdvice101.com

“From a Brit’s perspective, is there any better place around the world to start than England’s capital city of London? From a Southern American’s perspective… well come on folks, this is LONDON we are talking about, need I say any more!

“London is undoubtedly one of the top tourism attractions in the world and of course for very good reason! From the realms of historic heritage to the cultural immersion that this city offers, London has it all.” – Chris Boothman, A Brit & A Southerner; Twitter: @ABritSoutherner

8. Moscow, Russia

Visitors: 17,500,000 (2015, Source: Mos.ru)

Moscow, Russia

Image via Flickr by Deensel

From exceptional art galleries and museums to incredible architecture and so much more, Moscow is a unique city that makes for a memorable journey. Moscow has come to pride itself on its city parks, which boast a variety of activities to satisfy your every whim, from a casual walk to a picnic, cafes and restaurants, and even movies and concerts. With 790 Orthodox churches and chapels plus eight monasteries, there are ample sights to take in as well, and of course, you can take a stroll through the Red Square (one of the most incredible man-made wonders of the world), which is a must for any serious world adventurer.

What the Experts Say: 

“This is the capital of Russia and contains lots of lakes, archaeological monuments, palaces, churches, cathedrals, museums, galleries and much more. Visit the museums to understand the city’s transformation over the years.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Moscow is the capital city, and also the most populated city, in all of Russia. Is is a prosperous city and is home to the second largest community of billionaires, meaning there are a lot of generous donations being given all around the city in order to build attractions to bring tourists in from all over the world. One of those attractions is the Tretyakov Gallery which is split into an old gallery for renaissance artwork, and a new gallery for more contemporary 20th century and later artwork. Moscow is also known for its sports, and has housed over 500 Olympic athletes in the city alone. This is because the city puts a lot of emphasis on sports and has over 80 different stadiums for different sports in this city alone. Anyone interested in seeing sports of any kind would definitely enjoy being here; Russian sports are one of the top in the world and are very fun to watch.”VacationAdvice101.com

“Long are gone the years of grey concrete buildings and muted cultural life. Today’s Moscow exudes XXI century glamour, green promenades, modern shopping centres and a pompous past.

“Population is finally increasing after years of decline due to low life expectancy and birth rate and the city seems to have found its own re-birth.” – Mar Pages, Once in a Lifetime Journey; Twitter: @marpagesTWL

9. Singapore

Visitors: 16,403,595 (2016, Source: STB.gov.sg)

Singapore

Image via Flickr by Bernard Spragg. NZ

Singapore boasts some amazing cuisine, but that’s not the only reason to visit – not by far. With a culture akin to a patchwork quilt, arts, music, and architecture galore, and amazing nightlife, you’ll be hard pressed to find yourself bored when traveling to Singapore. There are plenty of family-friendly attractions in Singapore, as well, making it an experience to remember for young and old alike.

What the Experts Say: 

“This is one of the cleanest cities in the world. With its diverse people and excellent ambiance, Singapore is one of the most liveable cities in the world. If you are a shopaholic, you will discover Singapore to be a haven.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Singapore ranks up with other culturally and religiously diverse nations making it quite different from its neighbouring countries. The island has four official languages; English, Tamil, Malay and Mandarin and it also celebrates the national holidays of many different religions. Visitors can enjoy culinary experiences from different countries as well as visiting many different places of worship.” – Prianka Ghosh, Culture Trip; Twitter: @CultureTrip

“Singapore is an island city-state situated off the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Of the Southeast Asia nations, Singapore is the smallest; however, it is abundant in beauty, art and culture.” – Ramon van Meer, 100PlacestoVisit.com; Twitter: @100places2visit

10. Paris, France

Visitors: 15,450,000 (2016, Source: Statista.com)

Paris, France

Image via Flickr by Javier Vieras

From spectacular historic buildings and monuments to world-renowned food and wine, incredible fashion and shopping, and the city’s historical significance, there are too many reasons to add Paris to your bucket list to mention. Take in the The Palace of Versailles, visit the great Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame, or tour The Louvre to see the famous Mona Lisa with your own eyes. That must-have photo op in front of the Eiffel Tower is reason enough to make Paris a stop on your world tour, but the city has so much more to offer.

What the Experts Say: 

“The French capital city of Paris is a lovers’ paradise, and it is a must-visit spot for you if love is on your mind. It is also one of the important hubs for fashion, culture, and art. Many art galleries are featuring some of the best works of artists.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“The Notre Dame Cathedral is a don’t miss attraction in Paris. With the looming ceilings and wonderful sculptures, Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most beautiful church buildings in the world. This historical, Catholic cathedral is also a great example of French Gothic architecture. Arc De Triomphe is among the most impressive man-made arches in the world. Its construction was ordered by the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806, to honor the French army of that time. The name of all French victories and name of 558 generals are inscribed on the top this great monument.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with the children’s book “Madeline.” I would constantly day dream about seeing the Eiffel Tower with my own two eyes. My love for French culture actually came from my mom, who is also obsessed with Paris, so when I go, she has to come along. She took French in school and I followed in her footsteps, practicing the language up through college. And don’t get me started on the food. Did someone say crepes? It’s such a beautiful city with so much culture, history, and architecture—it would definitely satisfy both my inner wanderlust and childhood dreams.” – Cortni Spearman, digital producer, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

 

The 10 Most Popular Attractions

To identify the most popular attractions, we gathered annual visitor data (the most recent data available; thus, the sources for visitor data from location to location may differ) and ranked the attractions on our list from those with the most annual visitors to the least annual visitors. The top 10 attractions, by total annual visitors, are below.

10 Most Popular Attrractions

Given the massive popularity of cities in China like Beijing and Lhasa, it’s no big surprise to find the Great Wall of China earning the top spot among the most popular attractions. The United States has a bit more prominence among popular attractions, with the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park ranking among the top 10, as well as Glacier National Park. The rest of the top 10 most popular attractions is rounded out by a variety of impressive sights spanning the globe, from Angkor Wat in Cambodia to Pompeii in Italy. South America has strong representation on this list, with Chichen Itza in Mexico and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil each earning a spot. Click on an attraction to learn more about why you should add these hotspots to your travel bucket list for 2018:

  1. Great Wall of China
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. Yosemite National Park
  4. Angkor Wat
  5. Glacier National Park
  6. Pompeii
  7. Chichen Itza
  8. Matterhorn
  9. Great Barrier Reef
  10. Christ the Redeemer


1. Great Wall of China

Visitors: 10,000,000 (Annually, Source: TravelandLeisure.com)

Great Wall of China

Image via Flickr by Keith Roper

The Great Wall of China is one of the wonders of the medieval world and also the largest man-made structure ever built. Stretching more than 4,000 miles across Northern China, the Great Wall of China can be seen from outer space. The Great Wall was for centuries built, rebuilt, and expanded by successive dynasties in the Chinese empire, and it’s truly a marvelous sight to see.

What the Experts Say: 

“[The Great Wall of China] is the most popular landmarks of China and one of the greatest architectural wonders of Ancient world. With a total length of 5500.3 miles, the great wall is the longest structure man has ever built on the face of the Earth. The Badaling in Beijing city is the most visited section of the Great Wall of China. This section of wall was built by the Ming Dynasty and also has undergone restoration.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“The Great Wall of China is the only work of human hands that can be seen from the moon. Once critical to ancient Chinese rulers as a means of defense against invasion, the Great Wall now stands as a record of history spanning more than 20,000 kilometers from east to west. Tourists can visit from multiple locations, the most popular site located in Beijing. Along its length, the geography and environment range from mountains to grasslands and desert plateaus. Among these shifting habitats live many different species of wildlife, including the rare Siberian tiger and Giant Pandas, cranes and Sitka deers—you never know what you might see on a given day. Depending on where you enter the wall, you can hike, ride up on a cable car (the hills are very steep!), visit caves containing rock art, see Genghis Khan’s Palace, and even ride a toboggan back down. With so many options, working the Great Wall into your China itinerary is easily done and well worth it.” VacationAdvice101.com

“Asia has been on my list for as long as I can remember, and I’m finally going to make that dream a reality this March! I’ll be traveling to China and cannot wait to experience the culture, find out what Chinese food really is, and of course, see the incredible sights. I’ll start the trip by checking out the Great Wall in Beijing and finish up by visiting the Terracotta Army in Xi’an. I can’t wait!” – Keri Sanders, Assistant Editor, TravelChannel.com; Twitter: @travelchannel

2. Grand Canyon

Visitors: 5,970,000 (2016, Source: Statista.com)

Grand Canyon

Image via Flickr by Airwolfhound

One of the most-visited tourist sites in the world, the Grand Canyon is not only an incredible sight to see, but the Grand Canyon National Park also offers a variety of educational experiences for people of all ages. The Grand Canyon is about one mile deep, 277 river miles long, and up to 18 miles wide. If you live for outdoor adventures, take a day (or a few) to hike a trail or raft the Colorado River.

What the Experts Say: 

“The 227 mile long, 18 miles wide Grand canyon is the largest canyon in the United States. It is also one of the seven natural wonders in the world. The Havasupai falls located within Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing waterfalls in the world. Surrounded by the multicolored cliffs, the Havasupai falls is famous for its striking vivid blue waters and amazing pools. The Grand Canyon Skywalk, a cantilever bridge situated 720 feet above the canyon floor, offers a stunning view of the cliffs and rock formations in the site. The sunsets and sunrises at Grand Canyon appear in vivid colors. It is a don’t miss sight during your visit to Grand Canyon.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“The steep walls of the Grand Canyon, carved out naturally over time by the Colorado River, reveal 19 distinct physiographic sections of rock from the Colorado Plateau. Located in Arizona, the canyon is one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, and has a history of human inhabitance dating back to at least 1200 BCE. From the rim to the bottom of the gorge, the colorful striations of different rock layers tell the geological history of the canyon and how it has changed, and grown, over time. At the visitor center, you can learn more about the indigenous people that first made the canyon their home, as well as their descendants who still populate the area in small, remote villages along the river valley. If you’re extremely adventurous (and fit), you can hike 8 miles into the village of Supai, one of two places in the US—the other being Phantom Ranch, further up the canyon—where mail is still carried in and out by mule trains.” VacationAdvice101.com

“Whether you’ve never been or it’s a place you visit frequently, the view never gets old. We like to say if you can describe the Grand Canyon then you have never experienced the Grand Canyon. Treat yourself to this natural spectacle.” 12News.com; Twitter: @12News

3. Yosemite National Park

Visitors: 5,028,868 (2016, Source: irma.nps.gov)

Yosemite National Park

Image via Flickr by Dhinal Chheda

Spanning 1,200 miles of unprotected area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains situated in Northern California, Yosemite National Park is one of the most-visited attractions in the USA, attracting visitors from all corners of the world. From meadows and lakes to glaciers, waterfalls, and forests, Yosemite is filled with gorgeous scenery and breathtaking natural landscapes. The park is busiest between the months of May through October, so if you’re looking for a more secluded getaway, plan your stay during the off-season.

What the Experts Say: 

“I’m determined to get to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite via the cable route. I just haven’t managed to win the permits necessary to get there! When I first laid eyes on Half Dome, I knew I wanted to see the world from its peak. There’s something so majestic about the way it looms over Yosemite Valley. If I lose the permit lottery again this year, my husband and I may hop over to Iceland to see what the fuss is all about!” – Beth Rucker, Managing Editor, TravelChannel.com; Twitter: @travelchannel

“Yosemite has some of the most beauty scenery on earth. Upon my first glance entering the park on Tioga Pass, I was stunned at the remarkable beauty within the Sierra Nevada Mountains. What’s unique about Yosemite is that you are able to see the most stunning area of the park from your car.” – Julie, Escaping the Midwest; Twitter: @EsctheMidwest

“Most people living in big cities don’t get to see it quite the same as this. While visiting Yosemite, stay up a little later to do some star gazing. Very little light pollution from any cities allows Yosemite’s night sky to shine. Seeing the milky way and shooting stars with the naked eye isn’t something you want to miss.” ThisWorldExists.org; Twitter: @thisworldexists

4. Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

Visitors: 5,011,712 (2016, Source: Wikipedia)

Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

Image via Flickr by Juan Antonio Segal

Angkor Wat translates literally to “city temple,” which is logical considering that it was built during the early 12th century as the state temple complex. Today, it’s the world’s largest single religious monument, attracting millions of visitors each year. Once the center of power and influence across Mainland Southeast Asia, Angkor Wat was designed for the immortal gods and was thus constructed of the most durable materials – and much of it still stands today.

What the Experts Say: 

“Covering a vast area of 500 acres, the Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It is also the icon and most famous tourist attraction of Cambodia. The enormous stone temple symbolizes mythic Mount Meru, the house of God. The mountain like shaped temple has five towers to represent five peaks of Mount Meru. There are more than 3000 heavenly nymphs carved into the wall of this temple complex.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“It’s always been a dream of mine to take a month and travel around Southeast Asia. I want to eat street food in Saigon, float through the sea caves in Phang Nga Bay, swim with whale sharks in the Philippines, and stare in awe at the majesty of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In reality, it’s a big bucket list made up of smaller bucket lists, but that’s not cheating, right?” – Chelsea Schiff, senior designer, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“One of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, the Angkor Archaeological Park is a main draw for visitor to Cambodia. It features the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire such as the Temple of Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple. Within the chiseled walls, the stories of centuries past are told: Angkor was first a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. Later, it became a Buddhist temple, and Buddhist statues were added to the complex. Until the industrial revolution, this ancient city was thought to be the largest in the world at the time. A full understanding of the original intentions for building the temples has not yet been reached, but that wont stop you from basking in the sacred energy of this incredible ruin.”VacationAdvice101.com

5. Glacier National Park

Visitors: 2,950,000 (2016, Source: Statista.com)

Glacier National Park

Image via Flickr by Emily Poisel

From hiking to back-country camping, guided tours, biking, fishing, boating, cross-country skiing, and much more, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy at Glacier National Park. It’s one of the few remaining intact natural ecosystems in North America, and situated in Northwest Montana, offers abundant views and incredible experiences. Take a drive down the scenic Going-in-the-Sun Road, catch a glimpse of the area’s wildlife, check out the Garden Wall, or stay at one of Glacier National Park’s 13 campgrounds – the possibilities are endless.

What the Experts Say: 

“With with 734 miles of trail to explore, Glacier National Park really is a hiker’s and backpacker’s dream. Therefore, whether you’re pulling the tags off your first pair of hiking boots, or you’re a seasoned mountaineer looking for a challenge, Glacier’s got you covered.” – Dre Cameron, Glacier Guides; Twitter: @GlacierGuidesMT

“When visiting Glacier National Park, chances are you’ll want to see the park’s namesake blocks of ice. Of the 25 glaciers that remain – in 1850, there were 150 glaciers in the park – one of guests’ favorites is Many Glacier, considered to be the heart of the park. Travel by car, foot, boat, or horseback to get a closer look at the glaciers and their impact on the area’s landscape. You may not have long, though – global climate change scientists predict that all of the park’s glaciers will be gone by 2030.” – Susan B. Barnes, USA Today; Twitter: @USATODAY

“The natural beauty here is immense and completely surrounds visitors while they’re exploring the park’s 1,600 square miles. Snow-capped mountains, pristine blue lakes and glaciers, flowing waterfalls, and swathes of colorful wildflowers are just some of the eye-catching geologic features travelers will encounter. Pictures hint at the majestic landscape, but this is one place where you have to see it to believe it.” – Lara Grant, Oyster.com; Twitter: @OysterHotels

6. Pompeii

Visitors: 2,500,000 (Annually, Source: Telegraph.co.uk)

Pompeii

Image via Flickr by Andy Montgomery

One of the most-visited attractions in Italy and one of the most-visited archaeological sites in the world, Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a unique view into what life was like in ancient Rome. Take a step back in time as you stroll through the preserved streets of the city, which was once an integral port town for the Roman empire that controlled the entire Mediterranean Sea. From the Roman Forum to the public baths, the Anfiteatro, which is the oldest-known Roman ampitheatre that still exists today, and more, a visit to Pompeii is the closest thing you’ll experience to traveling back in time to Ancient Rome.

What the Experts Say: 

“Mount Vesuvius is known as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 currently people living at its base. It has a violent tendency with explosive eruptions and it the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted in the last hundred years. The volcano is the backdrop of Pompeii – you can see it as you walk down the cobblestone streets and throughout the whole city. Seeing this natural spectacle in real life was something I cannot describe. It is truly not a sight to miss.” – Valerie Orsulak, My One Big Planet; Twitter: @myonebigplanet

“Visit the fascinating ancient ruins of Pompeii. Following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the city preserved in time has become one of the most famous excavation sites in the world. Get a feel for what life was like nearly 2,000 years ago and see artefacts, architecture and frescos preserved by the eruption in 79 AD.” – Rachel Stevenson, Ideal; Twitter: @Ideal_Mag

“The baths are definitely something you should check out while in Pompeii. The baths are large public complexes which had both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, along with hot, warm and cold baths. They were open to everyone and the baths were routinely used for conducting business and for socializing. One of the bath complexes is located just off the main road leading into the forum and they actually just reopened after a restoration effort. They are fantastic to see because these baths have the only surviving roof left in the city of Pompeii and not only is it the only surviving roof but it is carved and painted as well. Be sure to check out the women’s section of the baths too and not just the more visited men’s section!” In Pursuit of Adventure

7. Chichen Itza

Visitors: 2,107,410 (2016, Source: The Yucatan Times)

 Chichen Itza

Image via Flickr by momo

A world heritage site in Mexico, Chichen Itza’s main attraction is El Castillo (the Pyramid of Kukulcan), a gigantic stone pyramid built by the ancient Mayans as a symbol of power. While El Castillo is the main feature that attracts visitors in droves, as its the most recognizable structure on the site, there’s plenty more to see. Temples with thousands of columns, several platforms, a ball court, and more, Chichen Itza is a historical site that’s well worth a trip.

What the Experts Say: 

“It is possible to see the site in a day trip from Cancun, and most tourists tend to do just that. There is a large influx of tourist around 10:00 a.m. as the tour buses begin to roll in. Chichen Itza is the most visited site in the Yucatan and can get very crowded at times.

“The site covers approximately 4 square miles of ground, so it takes quite a bit of time to explore all the ruins. Some guides recommend that you arrive at Chichen Itza later in the afternoon when the crowds have begun to thin, enjoy the light show in the evening, spend the night in one of the local hotels, and return to the site at opening the next morning before the crowds get thick and the sun gets hot.” – Deanna Robinson, 100PlacestoVisit.com; Twitter: @100places2visit

“Chichen Itza is a city that was built by the Mayan civilization that still exists too this day, which makes it of great historical importance to mankind. A lot of the attractions of Chichen Itza are caves and ancient ruins — basically just historical sites — but they are very interesting because of how long they have existed. You can go to the ball courts and see where the Mayans held all their sporting events, or the Balankanche Cave where you can see the ritual offerings that the Mayans of the ancient civilization laid out over a thousand years ago. With all these historic places to see, Chichen Itza is the perfect place for anyone that is interested in seeing how the ancient civilizations lived; it is truly a worthwile experience to see all these things so that you can be humbled by how much you have now and how people lived then, and truly see the value of the world around you. It is an amazing experience.” VacationAdvice101.com

“A visit to Chichen Itza on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes will give you a fascinating view of the phenomenon between the sun’s light and the edges of the stepped terraces on the pyramid. This very brief shadow display will be on the sides of the northern stairway a serrated line of seven interlocking triangles that gives the impression of a long tail leading downward to the stone head of the serpent Kukulkan, at the base of the stairway. This makes the body of the snake visible.” Everything Playa Del Carmen

8. Matterhorn

Visitors: 2,000,000 (2015, Source: Wikipedia)

Matterhorn

Image via Flickr by Kosala Bandara

Recognized around the world as a prominent symbol of Switzerland, the Matterhorn stands at a staggering 14,692 feet against a breathtaking backdrop. The Matterhorn is located at the border between Switzerland and Italy, making it a great sight to see if you’re traveling between the two countries. Of course, Swiss cuisine isn’t too shabby, either, and the chocolate is to die for. It overlooks the town of Zermatt and is an excellent experience for mountaineers and observers alike.

What the Experts Say: 

“The 4478.12 meters high, pyramid shaped Matterhorn is one of the tallest and most beautiful mountains in the Alps. The four faces of the Matterhorn mountain are steep and avalanches are very frequent here. So the ascent of Matterhorn can only be achieved by expert mountaineers. The first ascent was made in 1865.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“Out of all of the mountains that make up the Alps, the Matterhorn is probably the best known. Meaning “peak in the meadows” in German, the nearly 15,000-foot-tall mountain straddles the Swiss-Italian border and has long been a bucket list destination for climbers. Taller peaks like Mount Everest and K2 may overshadow it in terms of height, but the Matterhorn’s seemingly eternal pop-culture presence makes it easily recognizable to people around the world.” – Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine; Twitter: @SmithsonianMag

“You’ve seen it on boxes of chocolates and calendars (and possibly in an amusement park, too!), but visiting this mountain in person is something truly breathtaking. The Matterhorn is recognized around the globe as the proud symbol of Switzerland. Standing at a staggering 14,692 feet, it challenges mountaineers worldwide and welcomes less energetic visitors as well, to enjoy its tranquil beauty. Whether you’re traveling in the winter or summer, a ride on the Gornergrat railway from the village of Zermatt takes you to the starting point of an unforgettable tour that’s focused on the legendary mountain.” – Jeff Greif, TravelSquire.com; Twitter: @travelsquire

9. Great Barrier Reef

Visitors: 2,000,000 (Annually, Source: GreatBarrierReef.org)

Great Barrier Reef

Image via Flickr by Kyle Taylor

The largest and most extensive coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef draws millions of visitors each year. It consists of 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, and about 150 inshore mangrove islands, extending from Bundaberg in the south all the way past Cape York in the north, covering about the same area as a small country like Japan or Germany. It’s the biggest living structure on Earth, and it can even be seen from the moon. Now if that’s not a sight everyone should want to experience, we’re not sure what is!

What the Experts Say: 

“Since watching Blue Planet I have been dreaming about descending into a weird, watery world of kaleidoscopic colour, where supersized fish have blow-job lips and coral reefs ferociously – and quite literally – spew their guts to chew each other up. The Great Barrier Reef is colossal and it completely overwhelms me to think about all the life down there. I would spend my days diving shipwrecks and, perhaps, discovering new species which I would give ridiculous names to. Hopping from private island to private island, I would dive the reef from north to south and then fly back to where I started so I could fully appreciate its enormity.” – Hazel Lubbock, Online deputy editor, Condé Nast Traveller; Twitter: @cntraveller

“Comprising more than 3000 individual reef systems and stretching over 1430 miles, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. This tropical wonder is home to wide varieties of marine creatures including 1625 types of fishes, 3000 types of molluscs, 133 species of sharks, 30 species of whales and 600 types of corals.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world, and can actually be seen from outer space. More impressive, perhaps, it is larger than the Great Wall of China. Situated off the coast of Australia, it has provides habitat for a wide range of species, whose beauty draw divers and snorkelers from all over. There are actually over 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays that make up the Reef. You may be lucky enough to see humpback whales during their migration north from the Antarctic, or many other endangered species that make there home here. You can enjoy the Reef with any skill level: take in the views from a glass-bottom observation boat, go for a snorkel, or dive right down to the coral. No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to experience this natural wonder.”VacationAdvice101.com

10. Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janerio)

Annual Visitors: 1,800,000 (Anually, Source: MyRioTravelGuide.com)

Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janerio)

Image via Flickr by Liam Geoghegan

An iconic statue situated atop the Corcovado mountain, overlooking Rio de Janerio, Brazil, Christ the Redeemer draws more than 1.8 million visitors each year. Named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, it’s no surprise that people flock to the region to catch a glimpse of the world-renowned statue. Surprisingly, it’s smaller than the Statue of Liberty, but has earned its recognition for its impressive architectural design. Not only is it symbolic, but the act of building such a delicate-seeming structure at the top of a steep mountain is an impressive engineering feat.

What the Experts Say: 

“Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), at an impressive 98 feet high and more than 2,326 feet above sea level, is one of Rio’s – and the world’s – greatest attractions. Standing next to the awesome Christ statue atop Rio’s Corcovado Mountain, gazing up at the monument and then out over Guanabara Bay is sure a thrill, but getting there can also be part of the adventure.

“Visitors can reach the statue in three different ways; by tram, by car, or by foot. Perhaps the most popular and accessible way to get there is the twenty-minute tram ride that winds through the Tijuca forest and up to summit.” – Lacy Edney and Ségolène Poirier, Contributing Reporters, The Rio Times; Twitter: @TheRioTimes

“An important line in many bucket lists, Top 10 lists, and must-see attractions when in Rio, Christ the Redeemer is famous for good reason. Voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the Christ is the tallest religious statue in the world, but is spectacular even for the non-religious. The viewing platform of the statue offers sweeping views of multi-faceted Rio, including an unrivaled perspective of the forests, urban jungle, and many beaches.” – Stephanie Kempker, Go See Write; Twitter: @GoSeeWrite

“Roughly 2,330 feet above Rio, on Corcovado Mountain, stands Cristo Redento ( that’s Christ the Redeemer, you and me) – made entirely out of concrete and soapstone. Construction began in 1922 and wasn’t finished until 1931, which makes Christ the Redeemer the only statue of Jesus Christ on Corcovado Mountain that took nine years to build. You can take a cable car up to this legendary icon of Brazilian Christianity, then an elevator to the top of the statue itself. So once again, you can get all the views without breaking a sweat. You lucky thing.” Intrepid Travel; Twitter: @Intrepid_Travel

The 10 Trendiest Destinations

What makes a destination trendy? To identify the trendiest travel destinations for 2018 and beyond, we analyzed Google Trends data for each location on our bucket list and looked at trending interest over time. A higher trend score represents peak popularity on a relative scale of 0 to 100. Below, we’ve listed the top 10 trendiest travel destinations for 2018, followed by the top 10 trendiest attractions you’ll definitely want to see on your traveling adventures.

10 Trendiest Destinations

As evidenced by Google search trends, internet users are fascinated by Buenos Aires in Argentina, followed by the beautiful Athens, Greece. Canada appears here, as well, with Vancouver landing at #3 among the trendiest travel destinations, while two U.S. destinations make the list: the amazing state of Alaska and the intriguing New Orleans, Louisiana. Click on a destination to learn more about why you’ll want to add these fabulous cities, states, and countries to your bucket list:

  1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. Athens, Greece
  3. Vancouver, Canada
  4. Singapore
  5. Prague, Czech Republic
  6. Alaska, USA
  7. Auckland, New Zealand
  8. Bora Bora
  9. Paris, France
  10. New Orleans, USA


1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Google Trends Score: 89.8

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Image via Flickr by nestor ferraro

If you’d be delighted by an impromptu tango show on the street, want to try the world’s best steak, or taste ice cream that’s even more mouthwatering than Italian gelato, Buenos Aires should be nearing the top of your bucket list. But dancing and food aren’t the only experiences you’ll be treated to during a visit to the capital of Argentina. Shopaholics and antique lovers alike will find their paradise in the weekend flea markets, while those who love a raucous nightlife experience will find ample happening hotspots to fill the evening hours in Buenos Aires. Plus, it’s a charming city with a rich culture and plenty of natural sights to take in as well – like the popular Iguazu Falls, which has earned its own spot on our ultimate bucket list.

What the Experts Say: 

“This capital city of Argentina is a perfect blend of vibrant modern energy and ancient European style of cultures. Lots of tall monuments, 16th-century structures, nightclubs and authentic culture are the major highlights of this place.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“I’ve always wanted to go to Argentina. I’d hang out on the cobbled streets of buzzy Palermo Viejo in Buenos Aires before heading down to El Calafate – the glacial landscape named after the berry that, once eaten, guarantees your return. I’d walk in Bariloche at the foothills of the Andes and end up at Iguazu Falls where I’d cross over to Brazil and stay at the Hotel das Cataratas.” – Tabitha Joyce, Editorial assistant/PA to the editor, Condé Nast Traveller; Twitter: @cntraveller

“The birthplace of tango, the culinary capital of South America, and the largest city in Argentina, Buenos Aires boasts a culture that places high value on art, music, flavor and style. Porteños, as the locals are called, are a passionate and proud people, and this is evident throughout the Argentine capital. The best nightlife in Latin America is said to be found here, as are trendsetters of the modern world and enchanting relics of the colonial past. After dancing until 5 am, you can recharge with a coffee in a posh café and explore the city’s world-class museums or take a siesta in the lush Palermo park. No matter your speed or style, there is a palpable zest for life here that is sure to rub off during your visit.” VacationAdvice101.com

2. Athens, Greece

Google Trends Score: 88.7

Athens, Greece

Image via Flickr by Andy Montgomery

Many people dream for years of visiting Greece, known for its magnificent landscapes and ancient monuments, but if you do manage to put your feet on Greek soil, Athens is a must-see stop on your adventure. It’s an ancient city well-known for several famous landmarks, such as the Parthenon and the Acropolis, but you’ll also get to experience Delos, an open-air island museum, Delphi, a fascinating archaeological site, medieval towns, and so much more.

What the Experts Say: 

“Athens is the capital city of Greece and is the hometown of the highly reputed Greek philosopher, Socrates. Monuments, citadels, forts and other historical places of this city remind people of the role that it played during the famous Greek civilization.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Athens is the oldest city still in existence and is the current capital of Greece. It is also the biggest with over 3.5 million people in its metropolitan area, it is also home to the Parthenon. The Parthenon was constructed in Ancient Greece as a temple to honor the goddess Athena. This structure is a true marvel, with scars on its marble walls telling much about the temple’s history. After almost 2500 years of war, it still stands firmly. You can see the remnants of conflict on each of the panels at the top of the temple, and even the supports show sign of tear. Even after reconstructing and buttressing the structure, the Greek government chose to leave the scars as a lesson for modern visitors about the effects of war. A trip to Greece should absolutely include this symbol of the ancient culture, Athenian democracy, western civilization and the talent of mankind in producing stunning monuments that seem to defy physics.” VacationAdvice101.com

“With its blend of modernity and antiquity, a walk around Athens transports you back 6,000 years. Blessed with a rich ancient and medieval history, the city features the Acropolis, the ancient agora as well as a few temples dedicated to gods of the past. You can even see Aristotle’s Peripatetic School. Deepen the experience by visiting the various museums on offer, including the National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Acropolis Museum.” – Ethel Dilouambaka, The Culture Trip; Twitter: @CultureTrip

3. Vancouver, Canada

Google Trends Score: 87.9

Vancouver, Canada

Image via Flickr by Bernard Spragg. NZ

Canadians are well-known for their friendly nature and hospitality, so a visit to Vancouver is practically guaranteed to be a pleasant one. It’s also a culturally diverse city, and the scenery isn’t too shabby, either, with the North Shore Mountains providing a stunning backdrop to the city. Hit the ski slopes in the winter, or visit Vancouver in the summer to enjoy hiking, climbing, and more. There’s no shortage of things to do in Vancouver, whether you’re looking for a relaxing sightseeing adventure or an active, outdoor excursion.

What the Experts Say: 

“This is one of the best fishing cities in the world, and it is located on the West Coast seaport of British Columbia. Natural extravaganza and cultural richness dominate this city to a great extent.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Vancouver BC, Canada, is a very diverse city, home to residents whose cultures span from all over the world. Thanks to its multicultural makeup, festivals and celebrations from different ethnicities fill up the calendar year. So no matter when you visit, you can be sure there will be something going on. One of the best impacts that Vancouver’s diverse international population has had on the city is the food—the opportunities to try different dishes from around the world are endless here, and some will say that their authenticity is much truer than in the States because the ingredients that restaurants are allowed to use in Canada differ from the US. Ethnic restaurants abound all over the city, and if you are willing to travel just under 10 miles further out from the city center, you can visit the Richmond Night Market as well. This lively market features booths full of souvenirs and foods that will make the trip to Vancouver well worth it. Don’t let all this good food pass you by!” VacationAdvice101.com

“Majestic mountains, sparkling ocean, rainforests and beautiful foliage throughout all four seasons make Vancouver one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Canadians are known for our friendly nature, and Vancouver’s citizens take great pride in our welcoming, clean, safe streets – day or night, all year round.” TourismVancouver.com; Twitter: @MyVancouver

4. Singapore

Google Trends Score: 87.1

Singapore

Image via Flickr by Richard

Singapore has a growing tourism industry, thanks to the millions of visitors who experience the city each year. In fact, it’s the 5th most-visited city in the world, and the 2nd most-visited city in the Asia-Pacific region by international visitors – 1st in terms of money spent.  The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) makes a great effort to promote tourism as a major economic driver for the city and position it as a must-visit destination – and clearly, those efforts are working. Singapore is a unique destination in that it’s not just a city, but also a country, as well as an island. Located off the southern tip of the Peninsular Malaysia in Southeast Asia, Singapore boasts a unique cosmopolitan culture that makes it an ideal destination not only for leisure travelers, but also for business travel and meetings. Three-quarters of visitors to Singapore in 2016 were there for leisure, and there’s a lot to see, from amazing greenery and tropical wilderness to cultural experiences such as festivals, street food and fine dining, and more.

What the Experts Say: 

“Singapore, the island city-state, is the eclectic seat of Asia’s culture and character. Start your mornings with flowing Chinese tai chi moves amidst a rainforest setting in the Botanic Gardens. Walk around Chinatown and venture into temples and Hindu Shrines filled with plumes of incense. The Museum on Neo-Palladian Asian Civilizations exhibits some of the most noted Vietnamese, Arabic and Islamic artifacts. You wouldn’t want to miss SentosaIsland which offers all sorts of outdoor recreation. Endless gleaming malls line up along Orchard Road – a true shopper’s haven. Singapore lights up at night, from the spike-dome Esplanade theatre to the pulsing Zouk Club and the Chinatown Night Market. Singaporeans love to eat out, and so will you with unlimited food options from Hainanese fare to curried Indian food. Visit Singapore and experience the richness of the Asian heritage and the luxury of a megacity.”VacationAdvice101.com

“Intimate, lantern-strewn bars dot rooftops from the Central Business District (Southbridge overlooking the river, Lantern Bar overlooking the bay) to Chinatown (The Rooftop Garden). With year-round balmy evenings, the city’s many rooftop bars are open most nights, unlike in other cities where they close down once summer is over.” – Charlotte Glennie, Mavis Ang, Gillian Rhys, Vidhu Aul and Nicholas Walton, CNN Travel; Twitter: @CNNTravel

“Sure, it has all you expect of a modern metropolis, but the real beauty here lies in weaving that together with a rich multicultural heritage, lending Singaporean food and architecture a character that can’t be found anywhere else.

“Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it teams towering skyscrapers with acres of parklands – Singapore is not just a Garden City but a City in a Garden thanks to its abundant green spaces – and pairs a strong sense of tradition with vintage boutiques and hipster hangouts to give it an uber-cool edge, meaning it will not be your average city break.” – Katie McGonagle, The Telegraph; Twitter: @Telegraph

5. Prague, Czech Republic

Google Trends Score: 84.9

Prague, Czech Republic

Image via Flickr by Roman Boed

Prague is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on incredible sights or amazing experiences. The capital of (and the largest city in) the Czech Republic, it’s comparable to Paris in terms of beautiful sights and architecture, and it also boasts some of the best beer in all of Europe. If exploring impressive castles is your thing, Prague is a must-visit, as it’s home to the Prague Castle, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest complex castle in the world. The castle consists of several buildings including the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Museums and churches, the Golden Lane (a street that housed the royal goldsmiths in the 16th century), and more will round out an already-amazing trip.

What the Experts Say: 

“Castles, churches, and huge clock towers are soon in plenty in Prague. This city is an absolute delight for tourists, especially if they have a keen eye towards history. The city is also famous for its excellent quality of beer.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Prague is an affordable place for any type of visitor, who will be happy to find a number of budget-priced accommodation options. After arrival, many offices located at larger traffic hubs offer accommodations in private apartments, hostels, pensions, and hotels, both in Prague and on its outskirts. Most of the hotels in Prague are located close to major tourist attractions like the Prague castle, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas square, Old Town Square and Major theatres. Most are also ideally situated near to the Metro (Underground) or tram stations, which mean you, are only a few stops away from many of the major attractions.” – Layla White, 100PlacestoVisit.com; Twitter: @100places2visit

6. Alaska, USA

Google Trends Score: 83.1

Alaska, USA

Image via Flickr by Paxson Woelber Follow

Alaska may not sound like the most exotic destination, but if you’re not aiming for a tropical escape, Alaska won’t disappoint. From the mysterious Aurora Borealis to diverse landscapes, wildlife, bustling cities, and old mining towns, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in the state of Alaska. In fact, so many visitors flock to Alaska between May and September that during these months, it can sometimes feel like a crowded tourist hotspot. That said, if you go against the grain and visit in the fall, you’ll benefit from cooler nights and some truly amazing fall foliage.

What the Experts Say: 

“I really, really want to go see the Northern Lights. I don’t care where (I’ve been told Alaska and Iceland are both good places), but I want to really do it up, and stay in a big cabin or one of those crazy ice yurts.” – Jessica Yonker, Online Editor, TravelChannel.com; Twitter: @travelchannel

“I’ve been hoping to go on another cruise for some time now, and my goal is to visit Alaska next. I’d like to go on a one-week trip this time (seven days with no phone service sounds delightful), and sail on a smaller ship that feels more intimate. I know the scenery and animals will be absolutely incredible, and there’s no better way to see this gorgeous part of America than on a ship.” – Stephanie Wu, senior editor, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“While ice covers only five percent of Alaska’s surface, the state contains more than 100,000 glaciers. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, located in southeast Alaska, is home to more than 50 named glaciers, including seven tidewater glaciers that flow down to the sea. When sea water undermines the ice fronts on these glaciers, giant blocks of ice break loose and crash into the water, known as ‘calving.’ When ice calves from the face of a glacier, observers are treated to a noisy show and it creaks, groans and showers like a waterfall into the water below.” – Janis Jones, Traveling with the Jones; Twitter: @travelinjones

7. Auckland, New Zealand

Google Trends Score: 81.2

Auckland, New Zealand

Image via Flickr by Harrison / Peppery

A city unlike any other, Auckland, New Zealand offers incredible natural wonders and a world-class city experience all in one. Just a short, three-hour flight from Australia’s eastern coast, Auckland has it all, from opportunities to stroll through a rainforest to fabulous nightlife. Take in the sight of incredible waterfalls, kayak to a volcano, and visit Goat Island, a marine reserve featuring everything from sandflats to rocky shores, canyons, and underwater cliffs. Whether you’re into snorkeling or strolling one of two coastal walkways offering incredible coastal views, Goat Island is just one of many things you won’t want to miss in Auckland.

What the Experts Say: 

“Also distinguished as the ‘City of Sails,’ Auckland is a must-visit place for its innumerable yachts and water bodies. There are two huge harbors here.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“I’ve always loved being in the water, and with its 15,000 miles of coastline, New Zealand seems like the ideal place to dive in. The country is home to stunning beaches like its secluded Tunnel Beach, and a geothermal pool is never too far away. I have also found that one of the important factors for me when I travel is trying to balance time spent relaxing and time spent adventuring, which is why New Zealand’s mix of calm activities like visiting quaint vineyards and olive groves in Waiheke and adrenaline-pumping sports like bungee jumping and heli-hiking makes the country all the more intriguing to me.” – Talia Avakian, digital reporter, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure 

“If you’re not much of a beach-goer, never fear! Britomart, the Wynyard Quarter, and Silo Park are just a few places that are centre stage in Auckland. And that’s just a long the waterfront. Take a step back from the water, and check out some of the amazing shops that the main street has to offer. Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and now Top Shop all grace Queen Street with their presence and the shops further in are definitely worth checking out. Alongside the shops and busy businessmen rushing up and down the streets, Queen St has the Civic Theatre, the Town Hall, Aotea Centre and Square, and all have something happening most of the time.” – Anjali Kay, Travelista.club; Twitter: @traveliciousau

8. Bora Bora

Google Trends Score: 80.3

Bora Bora

Image via Flickr by Joshua Stefanini

Bora Bora isn’t (at least not yet) an over-crowded tourist destination, meaning that even in peak season when the resorts are at capacity, it doesn’t feel over-crowded to guests. In fact, French Polynesia as a whole receives approximately the same number of visitors in an entire year as Hawaii receives in about a week’s time. So, if you’re aiming for luxury and seclusion, Bora Bora is where it’s at. The island has a volcanic history, which leaves it with a unique geography: Mt. Otemanu, which features a dramatic peak, is surrounded by a large turquoise lagoon and a string of tiny islands around its reef. Clean water and pristine, sparkling beaches make this an ideal destination if you’re in search of the perfect, secluded tropical getaway.

What the Experts Say: 

“Bora Bora is the most beautiful Island in French Polynesia. With aqua-centric luxury resorts, beautiful lagoons, friendly locals and fantastic nightlife, Bora Bora it truly a must visit place in the world. Beautiful bungalows built over the clear, electric blue waters are one of the main attractions of Bora Bora. The private balconies of these bungalows offer stunning view of the lagoon and sunsets.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“One of my family’s closest friends has been going to Bora Bora for as long as I can remember. All through our youth, he would send my sister and me little tokens from his travels there. Porcelain figurines, old coins from the area, beautiful shells — all sorts of odds and ends packed into antique tobacco boxes and covered in colorful stamps. Ever since, I’ve been keen to go and explore the far-off island for myself. I picture spending days on end up under a palm tree in a hammock next to the turquoise blue waters. But staying in one of the overwater bungalows at the Four Seasons doesn’t sound so bad either.” – Ellie Storck, digital editorial assistant, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“Surrounded by a blue lagoon and a barrier reef, this majestic island lies just northwest of Tahiti and is known for its iconic over-the-water bungalow resorts. Ranging from luxurious to thrifty, these water-centric resorts surround the two remaining peaks of an inactive volcano that rise up from the middle of the lagoon, making it a prime location for scuba diving and snorkeling. Whether your interest is to take pictures and enjoy the stunning views, to hike the volcanoes and swim among the exotic marine life, or simply relax in the sun, Bora Bora is one of the most unforgettable and unique getaways you can find on the planet. Recently named ‘the best island in the world’, this tropical paradise could easily sway you from ever returning home.” VacationAdvice101.com

9. Paris, France 

Google Trends Score: 80.0

Paris, France 

Image via Flickr by Dimitry B. 

Paris, France is one of the trendiest destinations not only in Europe, but throughout the world. From the world-renowned Eiffel Tower to the impressive architecture and cultural experience, the City of Lights offers an unforgettable experience that can be enjoyed by the young and old alike. Take a walk up the steps of the Basilica of the Sacré Coeur to see the city from its highest point, tour some incredible museums, and have your portrait drawn by a local street artist. top it off with a boat ride down the Seine to catch a glimpse of the many stunning buildings throughout Paris.

What the Experts Say: 

“Iconic architecture, stylish citizens, glorious food, and the Masters of the Arts—all found here, in the City of Love. Paris is an undeniably beautiful city, in all seasons, both day and night. Whether it’s the view from the oh-so-famous Eiffel Tower looking out across the glowing city lights, or the gargoyle Notre Dame, the twinkling Champs-Elysees avenue, or a serene stroll along the Seine, you are sure to be seduced by Paris. After viewing timeless masterpieces inside the Louvre, walk through one of the quartiers until you find a boulangerie, buy some bread and cheese and enjoy a picturesque picnic under a leafy tree at the Jardin du Luxembourg. Tour the famous museums, check out uberhip designer shops, and dine al fresco at exotic restaurants, and you’ll see why this city has earned its reputation for being the most romantic in the world.” VacationAdvice101.com

“The Arc de Triomphe is a symbol of the French nation, standing in the Centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle. Did you know that the tomb of an unknown soldier remains under the arc? Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for a spectacular view of Paris, including one of the most famous avenues in the world – the glamorous Champs Elysées. Home to huge stores including Cartier, Swarovski, Levi’s and Abercrombie & Fitch, don’t forget to indulge in a little retail therapy!” ParisAttitude; Twitter: @PARIS_ATTITUDE

“Paris, the ultra-cosmopolitan French capital city, has a longstanding global reputation as a mecca of art, culture, fashion, gastronomy, history and architecture. Called the City of Light, City of Love and Capital of Fashion, Paris is not only brimming with internationally famous attractions but is an energetic city where beauty and vivacity ever-weave its curvy streets. Paris’ starring role on the global stage makes it a prime destination for travelers, who have many reasons to visit beyond the emblematic Eiffel Tower and the world-renowned wines.” – Isobel Washington, USA Today; Twitter: @USATODAY

10. New Orleans,  LA, USA

Google Trends Score: 76.9

New Orleans,  LA, USA

Image via Flickr by Eric Gross

New Orleans is probably best-known for its mind-blowing Mardis Gras celebrations, in which the whole city (as well as thousands of visitors) takes part in one of the largest cultural celebrations in the U.S. Mardis Gras kicks off the beginning of Lent, and during the celebration, the streets of New Orleans are packed with dancing, beads, music, masks, and elaborate costumes. If you’re not into the idea of a gigantic party, there’s plenty to experience if you visit the city at other times, from the famous Jackson Square park, located in the well-known French Quarter, to the St. Louis Cathedral, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and more.

What the Experts Say: 

“Last year, my wife and I took a quick trip to Charleston to walk the streets, stuff our faces at wonderful restaurants, and relax in the warm weather. Almost immediately we fell in love with the southern charm and quickly started to look for our next adventure below the Mason-Dixen line. New Orleans has been at the top of my bucket list for far too long and it’s about time that I pay the Big Easy a visit. My wife and I are planning our first family trip with our new daughter, and New Orleans seems like the perfect choice. It’s a quick flight away, has beautiful architecture, great food and plenty of culture, and it’s surrounded by greenspace, making for the ideal family day trip out of the city.” – Sean Flynn, digital operations editor, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“New Orleans is my favorite place I’ve ever been to. No matter how many different states and countries I go to, I always come back to New Orleans. There’s this kind of magic to it that is hard to really put into words. I just got back from my most recent trip here, and that magic is still fresh in my mind.” – Kayla Mitchell, The Odyssey Online; Twitter: @TheOdyssey

“In a city with more than 1,400 restaurants to choose from, New Orleans offers a variety of cuisines. From foodie festivals, street food, cooking schools and restaurants galore, there are endless options available that are sure to take taste buds on a culinary adventure. Local chefs and restaurants are constantly evolving, utilising local and seasonal ingredients that reflect the uniquely diverse culture of New Orleans. Some of the best cuisine is showcased during the annual COOLinary New Orleans Restaurant Month each August, with restaurants offering special discounts.” – Sally Hall, The National Student; Twitter: @NationalStudent

The 10 Trendiest Attractions

Attractions draw visitors in droves to amazing sights around the globe, and we’ve identified the top 10 trendiest attractions that you won’t want to miss out on seeing in your lifetime.  To identify the trendiest attractions for 2018 and beyond, we analyzed Google Trends data for each location on our bucket list and looked at trending interest over time. A higher trend score represents peak popularity on a relative scale of 0 to 100. Below, we’ve ranked the top 10 trendiest attractions for 2018.

Top 10 Trendiest Attractions

As with destinations, Google Trends shows some clear preferences among the attractions today’s internet users are most interested in. From water features like Iguazu Falls and the Dead Sea to majestic mountains like Mount Kilimanjaro and the Matterhorn, history and nature prove most intriguing to would-be travelers and researchers in recent years. Click on an attraction to learn more about why you should plan a visit in 2018 (or at least before you die):

  1. Iguazu Falls
  2. Petra
  3. Mount Kilimanjaro
  4. Matterhorn
  5. Grand Canyon
  6. Chichen Itza
  7. Yosemite National Park
  8. Dead Sea
  9. Ngorongoro Crater
  10. Pompeii

1. Iguazu Falls

Google Trends Score: 76.9

Iguazu Falls

Image via Flickr by Trans World Productions

Iguazu Falls is a natural wonder, surrounded by lush subtropical rainforest, that makes up 1.7 miles of the Iguazu River. The Iguazu Falls is situated on the border between Brazil and Argentina, so a trip here means you can see what both of these unique countries have to offer. While some such attractions can leave visitors feeling rather “meh,” Iguazu Falls promises an awe-inspiring experience. The falls are so grand in size and scale that they seemingly dwarf other well-known waterfalls, even the famous Niagra Falls. Iguazu Falls features cascading waterfalls that stretch as far as the eye can see, consisting of 275 individual waterfalls that form a rainbow due to the refraction of light against the mist. At one particular vantage point, observers are surrounded by 260 degrees of breathtaking waterfalls.

What the Experts Say: 

“Fed by the Iguazu river, this unbelievable waterfall consist of 275 individual falls. The majority of falls lies within Argentinian side. The well-maintained pathways that have been built around Iguazu falls offer splendid view of this amazing waterfall. You can also take a helicopter flight over the Iguazu falls to enjoy its beauty from a different perspective.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“Have the thunderous waters all to yourself: guests of the Hotel das Cataratas, on the Brazilian side, can access the viewing platforms after the park closes—no rangers, no other people.” – Jennifer Chen, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“I’ve always wanted to go to Argentina. I’d hang out on the cobbled streets of buzzy Palermo Viejo in Buenos Aires before heading down to El Calafate – the glacial landscape named after the berry that, once eaten, guarantees your return. I’d walk in Bariloche at the foothills of the Andes and end up at Iguazu Falls where I’d cross over to Brazil and stay at the Hotel das Cataratas.” – Tabitha Joyce, Editorial assistant/PA to the editor, Condé Nast Traveller; Twitter: @cntraveller

“These waterfalls of the Iguazu River in Brazil are one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. The view of these massive falls flowing down over the triple border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina rivals any other such view on the planet. You can view the falls from either of these countries, although the visa rules vary and prior planning is recommended to avoid disappointing delays. Once inside the park, you can get around by foot on trails circumnavigating the basin of the falls, or hop on tourists shuttle trains and buses. The Iguazu Falls are taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide, and they are worth spending an entire day in the park, so you can take in their grandeur from both sides.”VacationAdvice101.com

2. Petra

Google Trends Score: 76.7

Petra

Image via Flickr by Seetheholyland.net

Petra, Jordan is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, and it makes an impressive stop along an adventure with stops at the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the deserts of Wadi Rum. In recent years, however, turmoil in Jordan’s neighboring Syria has led to a dwindling of tourist activity here, despite the fact that the area is deemed the safest in the region. Your journey to Petra begins with the a mile-long gorge of red sandstone called the Siq, which narrows to just a few feet wide and then suddenly opens wide at the Treasury, which is a well-known iconic image that appears on the cover of many guidebooks to Jordan. Then you’ll take a stroll to take in sights such as Roman ampitheaters, Nabataean palaces, burial sites, and caves decorated by ancient statues. The adventure culminates with a climb up 822 steps to reach the vast monastery, perched atop the jagged mountain, that boasts incredible views of Israel and Palestine. With tourist activity dwindling substantially in recent years, 2018 is a great time to experience the wonder of Petra.

What the Experts Say: 

“Belonging to a period which is as early as 300BC, Petra, located in the Southwestern desert of Jordan, is an absolute delight for archaeology lovers. Travel to this city through the canyon at Al Siq and observe the intricate carvings on the temples, tombs, and mosques that are located here.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Petra is an impressive ancient city located between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea in the Southern Jordan. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. The Petra was built early as 5th Century B.C by the Nabataean. UNESCO recognized this site as a world heritage site in 1985. There are 800 monuments in Petra including temples, tombs and altars, but the highly decorated royal tombs are the main attraction of this site.” TheMysteriousWorld.com; Twitter: @themysteriousw1

“Jordan has been on my bucket list ever since I saw ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ as a child. (Yes, I often base my travel list off of my favorite movies.) In the film, Jones makes his way to the ancient city of Petra in search of the Holy Grail. Pretty enticing, right? The carved city is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and Wadi Rum National Park is also in the southwestern region of the country. The vast desert can be explored by a 4×4, camel, or by foot, and personally, I don’t think spending the day climbing the desert’s rock faces before settling in at one of the luxury campsites sounds too bad.” – John Scarpinato, editorial assistant, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“The entrance into the ‘Lost City’ of Petra is through a narrow gorge, cut into soaring high cliffs of red sandstone. The ancient Jordanian city is literally chiseled into rock within the area of Wadi Musa—imagine someone turning the Grand Canyon into a series of temples, tombs and houses. The structures of Petra are unbelievable to behold, their cuts into the rock made with such perfection that architects from all over the world come to see the work. The reds and pinks of the sandstone create a gorgeous exterior entrance and the angles of the canyons cast beautiful shadows and highlights throughout the day. A tour of Petra allows you visit tombs, monasteries, and government buildings, all rock-cut to perfection. The natural beauty of the site and the intricacy of its carvings, hidden away in the mountain gorges since prehistoric times, will leave you breathless.” VacationAdvice101.com

3. Mount Kilimanjaro

Google Trends Score: 75.4

 Mount Kilimanjaro

Image via Flickr by Roman Boed

Mountain climbers dream of reaching the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and while it’s not an adventure intended for the faint of heart, nearly 40,000 people attempt to climb the world’s tallest freestanding mountain each year. It’s actually the easiest to climb of the seven summits, requiring no ropes or climbing gear, or even prior mountain climbing experience. In fact, as of 2011, people achieving this feat have ranged in age from just 6 years old to 83 years of age. Located in Tanzania, just south of the equator and next to the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro is surrounded by incredible scenery and other experiences that make the trip well worth it.

What the Experts Say: 

“After visiting Africa for a month a few years ago, I found myself wanting to see more of the gorgeous continent. The natural beauty there is truly breathtaking and, as an avid hiker, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was a natural fit for my bucket list. The ascent to the top is actually not that difficult—most climbers succumb to altitude sickness before physical fatigue. The 55-mile hike brings you through multiple climates: farmland, rainforest, and finally arctic temperatures at the summit showcasing a wide range of wildlife. I’ve actually started planning this dream trip and will embark on the trek, followed by a safari, in March 2017. I’ll be documenting my adventure, so stay tuned.” — Lindsey Campbell, audience engagement editor, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“After reading Werner Herzog’s memoir, ‘Of Walking in Ice,’ I’m convinced that some places are meant to be traveled on foot. In the case of Mount Kilimanjaro, traveling by foot to the summit is your only option. At 19,341 feet above sea level, Kilimanjaro stands as the highest mountain in Africa, and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. In addition to its height, Kilimanjaro contains multiple unique ecosystems, and is the second closest point in the world to the sun, after Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo.” – Mary Robnett, assistant photo editor, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest summit in Africa, is a wondrous sight. The peak of Kilimanjaro stands alone, towering over the plains of Tanzania by over 6,000 meters. It is this great height and the challenge to reach it, that this mountain has become so tempting for people to climb—to be at the highest possible point in Africa with no other contenders nearby. Around 15,000 people have attempted to climb the mountain, but less than half have successfully summited. The mountain rises from lowland farm country, through changing climate zones of rainforest and alpine meadow, to finally a dry, empty landscape reaching to the final twin summits. While the summit does not require ropes or technical climbing, the hike is extremely challenging and requires high levels of fitness and determination. If you do choose to go, your efforts will certainly be rewarded by the knowledge that you have reached the top of the African continent.” VacationAdvice101.com

4. Matterhorn

Google Trends Score: 75.1

Matterhorn

Image via Flickr by Jan-Christof Telford

The Matterhorn is Switzerland’s crown jewel, with its image appearing on everything from formal Switzerland travel guides to Toblerone bars. Part of the Swiss Alps, the Matterhorn is western Europe’s 12th tallest peak, but it’s taller than the highest peak in the lower 48 United States, Mt. Whitney, by about 187 feet, making it a particularly impressive sight for American travelers. It’s the 10th highest peak in Switzerland, with four faces forming a near-perfect pyramid. Each face of the Matterhorn faces a cardinal direction (north, south, east, and west), making it a truly unique natural creation. In the city of Zermatt, where the Matterhorn is located, there’s a Matterhorn Museum with intriguing artifacts such as the torn rope of Lord Francis Douglas and his climbing mates; Douglas is recognized as the first climber to ever reach the peak of the glorious mountain. While climbing is advised only for experienced mountaineers, a visit to the Matterhorn is well worth it simply to experience the sights.

What the Experts Say: 

“You will be amazed by the architecture wonders of small and large chalets in Zermatt. Staying true to the rural Swiss architecture, the interiors and design of the chalets around the town are modern and just astonishing. You can enjoy magnificent views, state-of-the-art amenities, the perfect mix of native alpine style and contemporary details. We love the marvellous ambience of Chalet Matten, exclusive location of CERVO Mountain Boutique Resort and stunning views of the Matterhorn at Mont Cervin Palace.” Connoisseur’s; Twitter: @Connoisseurs_me

“Climb it, look at it, but you cannot ignore the fact that the Matterhorn dominates the landscape of Zermatt. No matter where you are in Zermatt, the mighty, and mysterious Matterhorn stands guard over 3 countries. The Matterhorn has been of great interest to people not only for its sheer physical presence and beauty but also for its unforgiving nature to those who attempt to conquer it. It has been shrouded in controversy since the very first ascent in 1865. The Matterhorn is claimed by 3 countries. The French call it Mont Cervin, while the Italians call it Monte Cervino, yet in reality the world knows it as the Matterhorn and the Swiss claim it as their own. It has become an icon of the Swiss Alps and is one of the most photographed mountains in the world.” – Paula McInerney, Contented Traveller; Twitter: @gordyandpaula

“Capture your perfect photo of the most famous mountain in the world. Enjoy the great reflections at Stelli Lake (Stellisee). Camping in the area of Zermatt is not allowed. There is a mountain hut (Fluhalp) nearby that might have availability.
Take the underground cable car from Zermatt Sunnegga valley station. At Sunnegga, take the gondula to Blauherd. Stelli Lake (look out for Stellisee) is only about 15 minutes from Blauherd station. Thousands of photos have been taken at Stellisee, so add a few more to that number. Stelli Lake features an excellent view and reflection of the chocolate side of the Matterhorn.” The Outbound; Twitter: @theoutbound

5. Grand Canyon

Google Trends Score: 70.0

Grand Canyon

 

Image via Flickr by Alexander C. Kafka

The Grand Canyon is another attraction that’s not only among the most popular in the world, but also the trendiest. It’s no surprise that travelers are searching for information about traveling to the Grand Canyon with such frequency; while the South Rim is the most-visited by tourists, the North Rim offers an incredible and distinct experience, so it’s an attraction you can visit more than once for a unique experience every time. A scenic drive down Cape Royal Road will take you to some of the most amazing vantage points at the North Rim. Once there, you can take a mule ride, see the Kaibab Squirrel (the North Rim is one of the only places to spot this rare creature), and stop by (or stay at) the historic Grand Canyon Lodge.

What the Experts Say: 

“The Grand Canyon is unparalleled in the world for the views it gives to the visitors of the rim. It is distinct for its overwhelming size as well as obscured and colorful landscape. It is also noteworthy geologically because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks majestically preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon. The national park in Grand Canyon boasts of its superlative sight of landscapes that this canyon has to offer. The park was founded by President Theodore Roosevelt as Grand Canyon Monument in 1908. It became a national park in 1919.” – David H. Urmann, 100PlacestoVisit.com; Twitter: @100places2visit

“Yes, that’s right. You should visit the North Rim because of the long drive. It’s part of the attraction. Coming up from Flagstaff, I stopped at the Cameron Trading Post to have hot beef on fry bread (yum.) In Tuba City — just up the road — I visited Explore Navajo Interactive Museum and Navajo Code Talker Museum. I drove past breathtaking scenery straight out of a Western movie as I made my way through the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and climbed the Kaibab Plateau. And, of course, I stopped in Jacob Lake to purchase some of their amazing cookies.” – S.E. Schlosser, AZCentral.com; Twitter: @azcentral

“This one may seem like a no-brainer, but the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon can’t be emphasized enough. The Grand Canyon also experiences visual changes during certain times of the year. For instance, if you plan your visit for early autumn, it will look significantly different than if you visited during the middle of spring.” Pine View Village; Twitter: @pineviewvillage

6. Chichen Itza

Google Trends Score: 69.2

Chichen Itza

Image via Flickr by Pascal

Named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it’s not surprising that Chichen Itza is both one of the most-visited and the trendiest attractions today. The former Mayan city is believed to date back to 550 AD and served as a ceremonial site for the ancient civilization. If you’re making a trip to Cancun or Playa Del Carmen, a day spent at Chichen Itza is a day well-spent when you need a break from the beach life.

What the Experts Say: 

“While at Chichen Itza you will see the Pyramid of Kulkulkan. The Maya believed that Kulkulkan was a feathered serpent who reigned during a golden age and left by the eastern sea, but not before promising to return again. Two sides of the pyramid have been completely restored while the other two remain in the state of ruin. The Maya had an advanced understanding of astronomy. This building is an example of their knowledge. For example, there are exactly 365 steps to the top of the pyramid, one step for every day of the year. And every year on both the spring and the autumn equinox the sun hits the structure in such a manner to create the illusion of a shadow in the shape of a serpent which winds down the stairs in a journey toward the sacred Cenote.” – Deanna Robinson, 100PlacestoVisit.com; Twitter: @100places2visit

“Chichen Itza was a pre-Colombian city that thrived from approximately 600 to 1000 A.D. It is a large complex made up of various ceremonial sites, ball courts and other important buildings and figures. Its name is translated as At the mouth of the well of the Itzaes, with Itzaes referring to a group of Mayans who emigrated to the Yucatan Peninsula around the 6th century. It is the second most visited archaeological site in all of Mexico, only surpassed in the number of visitors by Teotihuacan.” – Lisa Wright, PlayaDelCarmen.com; Twitter: @PlayaDelCarmen

“One of the new seven wonders of the world that will give you an amazing historic experience. It’s incredible to walk around here, knowing about what took place there hundreds of years ago! Despite many daily visitors, it still almost feels like a movie while walking around. Something like an Indiana Jones movie!” – Alex Waltner, Swedish Nomad; Twitter: @swenomad

7. Yosemite National Park

Google Trends Score: 68.9

Yosemite National Park

Image via Flickr by Naoki Nakashima

Another attraction that earns a spot on both the most-popular and trendiest attractions lists, Yosemite National Park offers a multitude of activities and experiences the whole family can enjoy. With five waterfalls reaching 1,000 feet high or more, plenty of wildlife to see, and breathtaking starry skies to gaze at after dark, a trip to Yosemite is truly a trip to experience the best that nature has to offer.

What the Experts Say: 

“I’m determined to get to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite via the cable route. I just haven’t managed to win the permits necessary to get there! When I first laid eyes on Half Dome, I knew I wanted to see the world from its peak. There’s something so majestic about the way it looms over Yosemite Valley. If I lose the permit lottery again this year, my husband and I may hop over to Iceland to see what the fuss is all about!” – Beth Rucker, Managing Editor, TravelChannel.com; Twitter: @travelchannel

“Stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel, in Yosemite National Park, and visit the ancient sequoias in Mariposa Grove, the biggest living things on earth.” — Ken Burns, filmmaker, as quoted by Jennifer Chen, Travel + Leisure; Twitter: @TravelLeisure

“Among the most visited national parks is Yosemite National Park in California, which received nearly four million visitors in 2014 who came for Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point and Half Dome. Between hiking, biking, rafting and picnicking, there’s plenty to do for families. Plus, kids will want to complete various activities to earn a Junior Ranger patch during their visit to Yosemite.” – MiniTime, Huffington Post; Twitter: @MiniTimeFamily

8. Dead Sea

Google Trends Score: 65.2

Dead Sea

Image via Flickr by tsalproject

If you’re visiting Petra, the Dead Sea is a must-experience during your journey. Likewise, if you’re already planning a visit to the Dead Sea, you’ll want to be sure to plan time to check out the ancient Nabataean caravan-city, which is situated between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. As far as the Dead Sea goes, not only is it a well-known attraction, but it’s one of the most fascinating bodies of water in the world. Eight times saltier than the ocean, the Dead Sea has a rich black mud that forms on the seabed; both the salt and mud are said to be incredible for your skin. And, if you’re looking for a total spa experience, you’ll find plenty of them in the region, so take advantage of the ultimate in pampering.

What the Experts Say: 

“At nearly 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world. This salty sea bordering Jordan and Israel is so salinated that no animals can survive it, hence the name. The saltiness of the water itself has a long history of tourism, attracting people from all over the world to since biblical times. People have used the salt to create various wellness and beauty products, and to supply resorts and treatment centers around the world. Other nearby attractions, like the Baptism Site of John the Baptist, the Mujib nature reserve, and historic Mount Nebo, will enrich your educational experience here after the salt has enriched your health.” VacationAdvice101.com

“With 330 days of sunshine, dry air and no crowds, it’s little wonder eight international four and five-star resorts line the salty banks of the Dead Sea on the Jordan side. Each resort has its own private section of water for guests to bob about in, with some offering day access. The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea occupies prime position on the strip; its Gardens of Babylon-inspired design tumbling down the hill into the lake. That famous mud is found in buckets down by the water’s edge to slather all over yourself, leave for 20 minutes, and then rinse off with a float in the mineral-rich waters.” – Celeste Mitchell, News.com.au; Twitter: @newscomauHQ

“Masada, is, aside from the Dead Sea itself, the great attraction of the area. Atop a mountain to the side of the Sea lies this ancient fortress. With a steep history, and ascent, Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is traditionally climbed early in the morning by tourists wishing to see the ruins at the top as the sun rises over the Dead Sea and mountains of Jordan in the distance. Today it is not necessary to climb, as a cable car has been built.” Tourist Israel; Twitter: @TouristIsrael

9. Ngorongoro Crater

Google Trends Score: 63.7

Ngorongoro Crater

Image via Flickr by epcp

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Center, spanning vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands, and forests in Africa. A number of globally threatened species call the area home, making it an important property for biodiversity conservation. The Ngorongoro Crater itself, the world’s largest caldera, is quite the sight, and you’ll also find Olduvai Gorge, a 14km long deep ravine, in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Known as ‘Africa’s Garden of Eden,’ the crater is an excellent stop on a Tanzania Safari.

What the Experts Say: 

“Tanzania may be one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on Earth. Some of the most intact human and pre-human fossils have been dug up here, in the Great Rift Valley. There are two places you should absolutely visit while in Tanzania, even if your time is short: the Serengeti National Park, known for its annual migration of 1.5 million annual wildebeest and 250 thousand zebra, and Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive caldera. These two places are about 160 km from one another, which is roughly 100 miles. Those fit for a strenuous and challenging multi-day hike can attempt to summit the continent’s largest mountain peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, while those interested in lower altitudes can relax by the beautiful shores of Lake Victoria. With more time, you can check out stunning white sand beaches, Stone Age sites filled with rock paintings, or scuba dive in the Indian Ocean. Your choices are endless, and all will be memorable.” VacationAdvice101.com

“The Ngorongoro Crater is another of the most pristine wildernesses on earth, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to being the world’s largest intact crater. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and mountains – all a haven for wildlife, including the largest predator population in Africa. The Big Five even call this volcanic crater home, and it is one of the last wild refuges for the black rhino.” Africa Geographic; Twitter: @africageo

“On a personal level, after going on Safari in Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia, I have to say this is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever searched for wildlife, and other than Etosha in Namibia, the only place where I’ve seen wild black rhinos. I saw four, to be exact. The crater is also home to one of the the densest known population of Masai lions, which I saw as well, playing in the grass.” – Kristin Addis, Be My Travel Muse; Twitter: @bemytravelmuse

10. Pompeii

Google Trends Score: 59.8

Pompeii

Image via Flickr by Chanel Wheeler

Yet another attraction that’s among both the most popular and trendiest attractions you should add to your bucket list and visit in 2018, Pompeii, located 14 miles southeast of Naples at the southeastern base of Mount Vesuvius, has plenty of things going for it. Those who love history and culture will enjoy a visit to Pompeii, as well as anyone who wants to take in the glorious scenery of Italy. Plus, given its proximity to other popular tourist destinations, it makes for an excellent stop during a tour of Italy or Europe as a whole.

What the Experts Say: 

“This is a must visit place for archaeology lovers. Pompeii is a city which contains the archaeological ruins of what was once a famous and influential city. Today, the city is a place where history lovers can explore the same to find out more about the heritage of the place.” – Rosiya Hali, UpAndNet.com; Twitter: @upandnetcom

“Pompeii has a tragic history but the perspective is part of why the ruins of this ancient city are worth a visit at least once in your life. Over 2000 years ago, Pompeii was buried under the ash and other debris of a volcanic eruption and everyone perished. All the townspeople were either suffocated immediately, or ultimately buried alive. The town was rediscovered in 1599, but an excavation did not begin until about 1839, discovering whole families preserved together in their homes, awaiting their sad fate. Pompeii has now been a tourist spot for hundreds of years, allowing people to see the destruction that a volcano is capable of causing. If you want to learn more about the city’s history, or witness the destruction of a volcano first hand, come to Pompeii. You are sure to be humbled by the experience.” VacationAdvice101.com

“When I was growing up, I wanted to be an archeologist. I loved history, and the thought of uncovering temples and tombs in jungles excited me. I used to read books on Greek and Roman history and have discussions with my history teacher, even as young as 13. In short, I was a huge geek from the get-go. Being such a huge history geek, visiting Pompeii, the city destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, has always been high on my list of things to do. The falling ash came so quickly it preserved the city just as it was. It’s a place frozen in time.

“This year, I finally got to see it. I’ve traveled the world and seen plenty of marvelous ruins, but this is one of the best. The buildings, the frescoes, the streets, the pots, the bodies—everything is so well preserved. And even though a lack of upkeep has taken its toll on the site, I still found it a fascinating place to spend the day. My only hope is that the Italian government will get its act together to keep this site from falling into further disrepair.” Nomadic Matt; Twitter: @nomadicmatt

The 10 Most Overrated Destinations

Now that we’ve talked about the most popular and the trendiest travel destinations and attractions you should add to your bucket list for 2018 and beyond, let’s take a look at the destinations and attractions that are overrated. What makes an overrated destination? To come up with these locations, we dug into the data to find out which places have the most interest over the past year (high trend scores) but that people don’t visit as much as the trend data would indicate. So, we divided the number of visitors for each location by their respective trend scores to come up with a point of comparison (note that the visitor data sources from location to location may differ, as we relied on the sources offering the most recent visitor data we could find).

Of course, just because an attraction or destination earns a spot on this most-overrated list doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting; in fact, being overrated can actually work to your advantage if you’re looking for a vacation getaway that’s not so overcrowded with tourists that you can’t relax. Below, we’ve ranked the top 10 most overrated destinations among the top 50 travel bucket list destinations.

10 Most Overrated Destinations

While traveling to an exotic, far away land is sometimes the most exciting part of world travel, the remoteness of some of the destinations below might be working against them when it comes to actually getting tourists on their soil. Not only is distance a likely issue, but also cost; some of the destinations below are known to be among the pricier travel destinations today, such as Bora Bora, which lands in the #1 most overrated spot. Click on a location to learn more about why these intriguing places are overrated (and why you should add them to your bucket list anyway):

  1. Bora Bora
  2. Easter Island
  3. Galapagos Islands
  4. Fiji
  5. Dubrovnik, Croatia
  6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  8. Namibia
  9. Alaska, USA
  10. Iceland


1. Bora Bora

Visitors: 220,000

Trend Score: 80.3

Overrated Score: 27.4

Bora Bora

Image via Flickr by Christine Rondeau

Many people search for information on Bora Bora, yet the island receives only about 220,00 visitors each year. The low number of visitors to the island can be attributed, at least in part, to the high cost of traveling and staying here. That said, using some savvy trip-planning strategies can make it possible to experience Bora Bora on a budget, meaning you can join an exclusive club of people who have had the privilege of experiencing the incredible South Pacific island without blowing your budget.

2. Easter Island

Visitors: 100,000

Trend Score: 36.3

Overrated Score: 27.5

Easter Island

Image via Flickr by Arian Zwegers

A Chilean island in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean, Easter Island generates a lot of interest from internet searchers yet receives just 100,000 visitors annually. Why do so few people travel to the mysterious island? For one, it’s pretty remote and isolated, so it may not draw visitors who wish to experience a variety of attractions and destinations in a single trip. There’s also something to be said with the rather unique art ancient civilizations left behind. While it’s an intriguing glimpse into history and culture, some may find it odd – so it’s not an experience for everyone. For history buffs, though, it’s an experience of a lifetime.

3. Galapagos Islands

Visitors: 224,755

Trend Score: 65.5

Overrated Score: 34.3

Galapagos Islands

Image via Flickr by Will Daravong

“This archipelago of about 19 islands and many smaller islets sprinkled 620 miles off Ecuador’s coast in the Pacific Ocean is a double World Heritage site (both land and sea are protected) and served as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” according to the Travel Channel. “Each island boasts its own unique landscape, ranging from barren black, volcanic rocks to swaths of white sand beaches melting into gemstone-blue waters.” Still, while there’s a lot of interest in the islands, they receive just under 225,000 visitors each year, earning the Galapogos Islands a spot on our most overrated list.

4. Fiji

Visitors: 792.320

Trend Score: 52.9

Overrated Score: 149.7

Fiji

Image via Flickr by Adam Selwood

An island of Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is another remote vacation destination, and while it’s worth a spot on your travel bucket list, the island doesn’t receive hordes of visitors despite substantial search interest. That’s good news for you when you decide to take the plunge and make the trip – a secluded paradise awaits you.

5. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Visitors: 1,013,116

Trend Score: 59.7

Overrated Score: 169.6

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Image via Flickr by Bob Duran

There are plenty of reasons to add Dubrovnik, Croatia to your bucket list, and more than one million visitors travel to the city each year. It’s one of the most beautiful as well as one of the last remaining walled cities, so now’s your chance to experience the glorious Croatia before it becomes another over-crowded tourist destination.

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Visitors: 1,460,000

Trend Score: 76.2

Overrated Score: 191.5

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Image via Flickr by Jimmy Baikovicius

Nearly 1.5 million visitors travel to Rio de Janerio each year, many of them to experience Carnival, a massive celebration considered the biggest carnival in the world. If you visit Rio during other times of the year, though (Carnival takes place right before Lent), you don’t have to fight the crowds and can experience the city for all it has to offer.

7. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Visitors: 1,850,000

Trend Score: 89.8

Overrated Score: 206.1

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Image via Flickr by Diego Torres Silvestre

Given that Buenos Aires is the trendiest travel destination, it’s not a big surprise that it’s also considered overrated given the interest-to-visitors ratio. Still, the city receives 1.85 million tourists each year, so it’s not exactly ignored by travelers. With a blend of European charm and South American flair, Buenos Aires is a unique travel experience for those who love to immerse themselves in culture.

8. Namibia

Visitors: 1,500,000

Trend Score: 71.6

Overrated Score: 209.5

Namibia

Image via Flickr by Eric Bauer

About 1.5 million people visit Namibia each year. Situated on the southwestern Africa coast, Namibia is a great escape for those who appreciate natural beauty and wildlife. A sparsely populated country, there will be no bumping elbows during a visit to this beautiful land.

9. Alaska, USA

Visitors: 1,800,000

Trend Score: 83.1

Overrated Score: 216.6

Alaska, USA

Image via Flickr by Ian D. Keating

There’s a lot of interest in Alaska, yet not as much as you’d expect given the amount of interest in the state. Perhaps travelers have misconceptions about Alaska (polar bears and ice, anyone?), but the state offers breathtaking scenery and so much more, making it well worth a visit. Mid-May through mid-September is the best time to visit if you’re interested in a guided tour, as most tours operate during this season.

10. Iceland

Visitors: 1,767,726

Trend Score: 74.8

Overrated Score: 236.4

Iceland

Image via Flickr by moonjazz

It’s possible that Iceland suffers the same fate as Alaska, with travelers who are seeking a warm, summer-like paradise opting for tropical islands rather than a country that has “Ice” in its name. But you don’t want to miss out on the beauty of Iceland; the Northern Lights, for instance, are just one reason you’ll want to visit the country before you die. “The name itself conjures up an image of a land of imposing ice formations, and while that isn’t too far off, Iceland is more than just arctic temps and shining glaciers,” says the Travel Channel. “Don’t let the cold deter you: Iceland might be almost at the top of the world, just below the Arctic Circle, but its winter temperatures are often warmer than those in New York (and it’s only a 5-hour plane ride from New York, too).”

The 10 Most Overrated Attractions

Like travel destinations, attractions can be overrated, too. To come up with these attractions, we dug into the data to find out which attractions have the most interest over the past year (high trend scores) but that people don’t visit as much as the trend data would indicate. So, we divided the number of visitors for each attraction by their respective trend scores to calculate a consistent data point for comparison (note that the visitor data sources from location to location may differ, as we relied on the sources offering the most recent visitor data we could find).

Remember, just because an attraction is overrated (based on search interest compared to the number of visitors) doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on your bucket list. But if you’re looking for some solitude and relaxation, an overrated attraction might be just the ticket. Below, we’ve ranked the top 10 most overrated attractions among the top 50 travel bucket list locations.

The 10 Most Overrated Bucket List Attractions

 

These attractions have a few likely factors working against them. From a remote location that’s difficult to access, or at least fully experience without climbing a few thousand feet (as is the case with Mount Kilimanjaro and the Matterhorn) to a location in close proximity to unstable regions of the world (as is the case with Petra and the Dead Sea), sometimes, these kinds of factors make tourists feel like an attraction isn’t worth the effort.

It’s also interesting that there are two waterfalls that earn a spot on our most overrated attractions list. While they’re a breathtaking sight to behold, we suspect that travelers from the U.S. who have already experienced attractions like Niagra Falls may have developed a bit of a “meh” attitude about waterfalls in general, or, travelers may simply deem Iguazu Falls and Angel Falls too far out of the way to be a worthy trip. Learn more about each of these fascinating attractions and why they’re still worth a visit in 2018 or beyond by clicking on an attraction below for more details:

  1. Mount Kilimanjaro
  2. Dead Sea
  3. Perito Moreno Glacier
  4. Petra
  5. Ngorongoro Crater
  6. Iguazu Falls
  7. Angel Falls
  8. Machu Picchu
  9. Matterhorn
  10. Stonehenge


1. Mount Kilimanjaro

Visitors: 44,366

Trend Score: 75.4

Overrated Score: 5.9

Mount Kilimanjaro

Image via Flickr by Ray in Manila

Climbing an enormous mountain may not be an experience on your bucket list, but you don’t have to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to enjoy its stunning beauty. Located next to some popular safari parks in Africa, there’s so much more to do during your visit to Tanzania that stopping by the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro surely won’t be the only item you’ll cross off your bucket list on this trip.

2. Dead Sea

Visitors: 39,968

Trend Score: 65.2

Overrated Score: 6.1

Dead Sea

Image via Flickr by Colin Tsol

The Dead Sea is situated in the Middle East. Accessible by Jordan and Israel, instability in the Middle Eastern region has likely led some would-be visitors to opt for other adventures in recent years. However, visiting the Dead Sea is considered a safe adventure – and it’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

3. Perito Moreno Glacier

Visitors: 100,000

Trend Score: 52.6

Overrated Score: 19.0

Perito Moreno Glacier

Image via Flickr by Douglas Scortegagna

If you’re planning a visit to Argentina, the Perito Moreno Glacier is a sight to see. Just 100,000 visitors annually experience the breathtaking beauty here, so you’ll have the advantage of being among a rather exclusive group of travelers.

4. Petra

Visitors: 464,154

Trend Score: 76.7

Overrated Score: 60.5

Petra

Image via Flickr by Chris Yunker

Less than 500,000 people visit Petra each year. Considered the crown jewel of Jordan, Petra likely suffers from a similar disadvantage in that many travelers may fear traveling to the region. But like other bucket list destinations in this region, it’s both safe and well worth it to experience.

5. Ngorongoro Crater

Visitors: 600,000

Trend Score: 63.7

Overrated Score: 94.1

Ngorongoro Crater

Image via Flickr by Ganesh Raghunathan Follow

Located in Tanzania, where Mt. Kilimanjaro is also located, the Ngorongoro Crater is sadly overlooked by many visitors, but if you’re taking an African Safari, you’re going to want to check out the wildlife here.

6. Iguazu Falls

Visitors: 1,200,000

Trend Score: 76.9

Overrated Score: 156.1

Iguazu Falls

Image via Flickr by Trans World Productions

“Argentina or Brazil? Normally a question to be asked about your favorite for the World Cup but, for travelers in South America, it’s more likely to be focused on from which country you’re going to visit Iguazu Falls,” says AlongDustyRoads.com. But, Iguazu Falls is located within an hour from many places and can be visited from both Brazil and Argentina, as the falls are located on the border between the two countries. So, whether you’re heading to Argentina or Brazil on your next adventure, be sure to add Iguazu Falls to your must-see list.

7. Angel Falls

Visitors: 900,000

Trend Score: 36.6

Overrated Score: 245.8

Angel Falls

Image via Flickr by ollie harridge

Are travelers just unimpressed by the prospect of seeing a gigantic waterfall with their own two eyes these days? Angel Falls is another breathtaking view that lands on our most overrated list. While Angel Falls does receive 900,000 visitors each year, the Venezuela waterfall is not the easiest attraction to get to, which may account for some of the seeming gap in interest compared to the number of travelers who actually experience this incredible sight.

8. Machu Picchu

Visitors: 1,300,000

Trend Score: 49.8

Overrated Score: 260.9

Machu Picchu

Image via Flickr by Nimmi Solomon

With 1.3 million visitors annually, Machu Picchu is no ghost town, but given the amount of search interest in this historical attraction, it’s clear that more travelers should be experiencing this ancient treasure. “Every year, millions of people visit the imposing and mysterious Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. But getting to the massive agricultural terraces, intricate stone constructions, and epic hilltop views of this UNESCO World Heritage site isn’t cheap, and it involves some trickier-than-usual logistics,” says Travel + Leisure, which is one likely explanation for why more visitors aren’t flocking to Machu Picchu each year.

9. Matterhorn

Visitors: 2,000,000

Trend Score: 75.1

Overrated Score: 266.5

Matterhorn

Image via Flickr by Beat Strasser

The Matterhorn is a unique attraction in that it earns a spot among the most popular (most visited), trendiest, and the most overrated attractions. The fact that two million tourists catch a glimpse of the glorious Matterhorn every year coupled with the substantial search interest in the fabulous Swiss mountain leads to this oddity. Regardless of search interest and annual visitors, we think a visit to the Matterhorn (climber or not)  is an absolute must for any world traveler’s bucket list.

10. Stonehenge

Visitors: 1,366,765

Trend Score: 40.8

Overrated Score: 335.4

Stonehenge

Image via Flickr by Raquel M. 

More than 1.3 million tourists visit Stonehendge each year, but based on search trends, it’s clear that many more would-be travelers have an interest in the unique attraction. It’s accessible entirely on your own by bus from London, so if you’re visiting the U.K., a stop by the famous Stonehendge is an experience you won’t regret.

Our Sources

Learn more about these amazing destinations and attractions by visiting the expert sources we used to determine the top bucket list destinations for 2018:

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