World travelers looking for the best tourist destinations need not waste time on so-so cities and places that are anything less than awe-inspiring.
We share the 15 best tourist destinations in the world, from the always-romantic Paris to the ancient pyramids of Egypt, in this complete destination guide.
The 15 Best Tourist Destinations in the World
With so many incredible places to see in the world, narrowing them all down to a list of the best tourist destinations is tough. Setting your sights for the most iconic destinations that are even better in person than in photos is a great start.
We’re laying out the 15 best tourist destinations in the world, hitting all the high notes for international travel.
From historic cities and famous landmarks to renowned cultures, nightlife, and cuisine, visiting any of these locations will expand your horizons and make you a more seasoned world traveler.
The 15 best tourist destinations in the world are (drumroll, please):
- Paris, France
- Rome, Italy
- New York City, New York
- Tokyo, Japan
- Bali, Indonesia
- London, England
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Athens, Greece
- Petra, Jordan
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Florence, Italy
- Beijing, China
- Yellowstone National Park
- Giza, Egypt
- Las Vegas, Nevada
Keep reading to discover what makes each of these places so iconic and worthy of a spot on a list of the best in the world.
1. Paris, France
The romantic City of Lights is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the world. Tour the Louvre, stroll through the Montmartre neighborhood or lush gardens, savor a croque monsieur and French wine, and shop along Champs Élysées.
From its famous landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, to its renowned cuisine, fashion, and history, Paris is an amazing place to spend a week taking in the architecture, artwork, museums, food, and chic neighborhoods.
The best time to visit Paris is usually during the spring and summer months. The weather is mild to warm and ideal for sightseeing and exploring this fascinating city on foot!
2. Rome, Italy
Italy’s historic and breathtaking capital is practically a rite of passage for international travelers. You’ll take in famous sights like the Colosseum, Roman Forum ruins, the Pantheon temple, and Trevi Fountain in this stunning city.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do – enjoying full-bodied wines, rich pasta dishes, creamy gelato, and appreciating famous works of art and architecture as you wander the cobbled and worn sampietrini streets.
Plan to go between October and April, the undisputed best time to visit Rome with the exception of Christmas and Easter, which are very busy tourism periods for the city.
3. New York City, New York
The Big Apple – New York City – is world-famous as a tourist destination and packed with recognizable landmarks, districts, restaurants, and clubs to explore in this remarkable, bustling “City That Never Sleeps.”
Hit all the sightseeing hotspots, like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, Metopolitan Museum of Art, and Broadway. Venture further into NYC’s vibrant neighborhoods to find great restaurants, bars, and shops!
It’s fun to fully embrace your tourist label in New York City, snapping photos and enjoying a classic slice of New York pizza or an Italian sandwich from a tiny bodega or deli.
We’ve found the best time to visit New York City is during the fall for cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage, but summertime is very popular for tourists.
4. Tokyo, Japan
Modern and futuristic yet balanced with traditional architecture and culture, Tokyo is one of the best tourist destinations in the world with much to see and do in the largest city in the world.
Ancient Buddhist temples and shrines, towering modern skyscrapers, lush public gardens and parks, and abundant museums and galleries make it a cultural haven for world travelers.
Come during March or April, the best time to visit Tokyo and see the famous sakura cherry trees in bloom. Eat your fill of fresh sushi and seafood, Japanese ramen, curry. Wash it all down with a bold sip of sake.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Come for a spiritual awakening or just to admire awe-inspiring Hindu temples and intricately terraced rice groves amid misty rainforests, volcanoes, and beaches on this jaw-dropping Indonesian island.
The famous Tanah Lot, Lempuyang, Uluwatu, and Pura Tirta Empul temples are must-see sights in the “Land of the Gods.” Savor grilled sate, stir-fried rice, and fresh seafood as you explore Ubud, Seminyak, and beachy Kuta.
April through June is the best time to visit Bali as the start of the dry shoulder season with lower prices on hotels and attractions and excellent – if a little hot – weather.
6. London, England
London is one of the most-visited cities in the world and it’s easy to see why. There are famous districts and landmarks everywhere you go, an incredibly diverse spread of restaurants and shops, and those recognizable double-decker buses!
This is your chance to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, stroll Piccadilly Circus, cross the Tower Bridge, tour Westminster Abbey, and stop by the renowned red phone booths (yes, they’re still around).
London’s nightlife and food scene is incredible and you’ll find museums and galleries around every corner to learn about the city’s history. Come between March-May, the best time to visit London with smaller crowds.
7. Bangkok, Thailand
Spicy and sweet aromas fill the air as you set eyes on grand Buddhist temples (wats) and palaces, visit noisy street markets and taste delicious street foods, take a beautiful river cruise, and join in the vibrant nightlife.
It’s a foodie paradise, offering simple-yet-delicious treats from stalls like moo ping (grilled pork), pad krapao moo (stir-fried pork), jok (rice porridge), pad see ew (rice noodles), and pad thai.
The red-light district is known far and wide, but if that’s not your scene, Khao San Road offers a stunning range of bars and clubs that come alive at night. Come between cooler November-Feburary, the best time to visit Bangkok.
8. Athens, Greece
A veritable mecca of ancient history, architecture, and Greek culture, Athens is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Merging tradition and modernity is part of what makes Athens so amazing to visit.
Landmarks from the 5th century still stand here, like the Acropolis (home to the Parthenon) and temples and altars built to honor Greek gods. But you’ll also find modern-day Athens a bustling metropolis with great Greek restaurants, bars, and shops.
Plan your visit in springtime, especially May, to experience the best time to visit Athens. Fall is another great time to explore the city with mild weather and smaller crowds.
9. Petra, Jordan
An ancient city carved into rock with amazingly intricate facades and tunneled passageways make Petra a truly inspiring place to visit. Dating back to 300 B.C., this archaeological site is a favorite place for tourists seeking historic wonders.
Journey through the narrow Al Siq passage that opens up to the royal temples and tombs of Petra, chiseled and carved right into the pink sandstone rock formations that rise majestically from the Jordan desert.
You’ll see the famous Greek-style Treasury, Obelisk Tomb, and Byzantine churches. Take a grueling hike to “The High Place of Sacrifice” and be rewarded with sweeping views of the city from an incredible perspective.
The spring months of April and May or the fall months of October and November are the best time to visit Petra with milder weather, but be prepared for crowds!
10. Grand Canyon National Park
The world-famous Grand Canyon is located inside Grand Canyon National Park, an awe-inspiring stretch of Arizona wilderness known for its massive canyons, rugged banded-rock formations, hiking trails, and scenic views.
The 18-mile wide, 278-mile long Grand Canyon is the centerpiece of the park, offering multiple trails that lead to amazing viewpoints on the North and South Rims. You can even ride a mule to the bottom of the canyon!
The park is populated with general stores, restaurants, and coffee shops for much-needed refueling after hiking and exploring. The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is from April-June without huge crowds or scorching temperatures.
11. Florence, Italy
Often skipped in favor of Rome, Florence is actually one of the best international cities to visit for history, art, architecture, wine, cuisine, and culture.
This iconic city is surrounded by rolling Chianti hills with vineyards and olive groves and the rugged Apennine Mountains. World-famous works of art reside in its museums and galleries, like Michelangelo’s “David” and Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”
Touring the Historic Centre of Florence can take days, with Duomo Square’s Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, Uffizi Gallery, and Palazzo Vecchio – the Old Palace – eliciting oohs and ahhs.
The best time to visit Florence is between April and June, when rain is limited and temperatures are gradually warming for the ultimate sightseeing and al fresco Florentine wining and dining!
12. Beijing, China
Talk about bucket list travel – visiting Beijing is a must for any world traveler with so many experiences to offer. From seeing the Great Wall of China to the palace complex at The Forbidden City, this is a magical and infinitely interesting place.
You’ll be able to tour the 15th-century Temple of Heaven, walk a long section of the preserved Great Wall of China in Badaling, see Ming Dynasty tombs, and taste delicious foods in gourmet restaurants and from street stalls.
Try to visit Beijing during the best time to visit China – spring or fall, depending on the weather you’re looking for and whether or seeing the city in its colorful fall foliage is important to you.
13. Yellowstone National Park
Geysers and hot springs may not sound all that awesome, but that’s just because you haven’t been to Yellowstone National Park – yet! This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US and always amazes travelers.
Everyone knows about Old Faithful, the geyser that jets boiling-hot water at regular intervals 20 times a day. But the 20-mile Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, huge waterfalls, 500+ geysers, and 10,000+ hot springs also make it incredible to visit.
You’ll find over a thousand miles of hiking trails winding through this 2 million-acre park and plenty of dining, camping, and lodging options within the park. Come during June-September if you’re after the best time to visit Yellowstone!
14. Giza, Egypt
The exotic destination of Giza is home to iconic structures like the Great Pyramid of Giza (11 miles away) and the Great Sphinx sculpture. In this desert land, ancient history comes to life in the massive structures you can tour.
Book a tour of the pyramids, which includes the Great Pyramid of Giza (King Khufu’s tomb), the Great Sphinx, and the Pharaonic Village museum where you can see what life was like in those ancient days.
Nearby Cairo is home to amazing mosques, markets, and museums just 11 miles away and where you’ll find great restaurants and endless sightseeing opportunities.
Note that the best time to visit Egypt is between October and April, when the weather is nice but crowds can be massive.
15. Las Vegas, Nevada
One of the most popular destinations for tourists is Las Vegas, Nevada, also known as Sin City and the Entertainment Capital of the World. Gambling, performances, luxurious hotels, and lively streets illuminated by neon lights characterize Vegas.
World-famous hotels like The Venetian, Caesar’s Palace, the Bellagio, MGM Grand, and more offer their own casinos, entertainment day and night, and luxurious rooms. The nightlife is unmatched and walking the famous Vegas Strip is a lot of fun!
Spring and fall are the best time to visit Las Vegas since it gets so hot in the summer months. Rates may be a little higher, but it’s worth it for milder temperatures as you wander through Vegas.
Things to Consider
When you start planning to visit some of the best destinations for tourists, keep these tips and considerations in mind to make the most of your trip!
- Note what’s nearby. Wherever you’re heading among the best tourist destinations, take a look at what’s nearby and plan to expand your trip to the surrounding regions that deserve your attention. For example, if you’re heading to Athens, Greece, a day trip to nearby Delphi gives you an opportunity to see even more Greek temples and ruins in a historic setting.
- Save by booking plane tickets on a Sunday. Most of the destinations on our list will require international travel, while some may be a car ride or domestic plane ride away. In any case, Sunday is the best day to book flights with airfare savings up to 20% just by booking on a lower-volume day like this!
- Familiarize yourself with the language. If you’re visiting another country, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local language to make communication easier and get a better feel for the country’s culture. Greetings, basic questions, and emergency words are often good enough to get you through a short trip!
- Stay safe out there. Traveling to the world’s best tourist destinations can be dangerous if you’re not keeping basic safety in mind. Stay aware and alert, don’t travel with valuables, keep your belongings secure and phone charged, and avoid walking alone at night wherever you go to stay safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have more questions about the best tourist destinations in the world? Take a look at the FAQs below to learn more before you plan a trip.
What is the world's #1 tourist destination?
France is the #1 tourist destination in the world and one of the most-visited countries. Paris is the most popular place to visit in France with its many landmarks, long-spanning history, and beautiful scenery.
Paris ranks as the #1 best tourist destination in the world and offers an unmatched list of landmarks, attractions, museums, dining options, accommodations, and historic sights.
What is the prettiest place to go on vacation?
The prettiest place to go on vacation depends on what strikes your fancy. For mountains, historic architecture, and rolling hills, Florence, Italy is gorgeous.
For beaches, rainforests, and volcanoes, you can’t beat the beauty of Bali, Indonesia. Rugged, natural beauty is abundant at Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks.
What is voted the most beautiful place on Earth?
Paris, France, Bali, Japan during cherry blossom season, and Italy’s Amalfi Coast are all ranked as some of the most beautiful places on Earth.
You’ll find unexpected beauty in almost any destination you visit, whether it’s natural scenic beauty, stunning architecture and artwork, tropical beaches, and snowy landscapes can all be beautiful in their own ways.
What is the most naturally beautiful city in the US?
Honolulu, HI; Charleston, SC; San Francisco, CA; Savannah, GA; and Asheville, NC are all ranked as some of the most naturally beautiful cities in the US.
You’ll find scenery from low country coastal and hilly, mountainous terrain to lush tropical beaches and forests in these gorgeous US cities.
Which part of the US is most beautiful?
Some consider the Southeast the most beautiful part of the US due to its wide variety of scenery, topography, and climates.
In the Southeast, you’ll find subtropical beaches and mangroves, mountains, swamps, dense forests, and rolling hills.
So, Which of the Best Tourist Destinations Will You Visit?
Stunning architecture and history in Europe, mind-blowing structures and landmarks in the Middle East, ancient temples and cities in Asia, and natural beauty in continents around the world are all amazing places for tourists to visit.
From Paris to Las Vegas, the best tourist destinations will never leave you feeling let down or underwhelmed. Pick any place on this list to ensure a trip filled with vibrant new experiences and expand your travel horizons!