24 best travel destinations for 2024

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 11.06.2024

It goes without saying that travel is subjective. Everyone’s idea of the best destination for this, that and the other will be different. Our 24 best travel destinations for 2024 were selected based on personal experiences and informed passion — exactly what's driven Rough Guides for 40+ years. These are all places our experts can personally vouch for and we’re sure you’ll feel the same about (at least) some of them, too. Without further ado, here's your travel inspiration for 2024, and beyond. 

Gower Peninsula, Wales While Snowdonia understandably looms large as an outstanding spot for Welsh adventures, our panel made a strong case for featuring the Gower Peninsula as one of the best travel destinations for bucket list experiences.   And the reasons? First up, the Gower Peninsula was Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Beauty. With an extraordinary limestone coast and range of natural habitats, it’s a place to relish unforgettable walks on the wild side.   On that note, enjoy the Rhosili headland walk to Worm’s Head — a tidal island that’s only accessible for two hours either side of low tide.  Adventures await on the water, too, with Gower hosting world-class surfing, climbing, abseiling and coasteering opportunities.   If that wasn’t enough, the Gower Peninsula is also eminently affordable.  Expert’s tip: to get close to nature, book a Dryad Bushcraft course.  Discover more: download the free Rough Guide to Responsible Wales for more on the Gower and other Welsh wonders.

Rhossili Bay, Gower — a top spot for scenic, affordable adventure @ Shutterstock

Best destinations for adventure

Our experts considered destinations that offer multiple opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime experiences and high-octane adventures. Such experiences can be pretty costly, so they chose places that give travellers better bang for their buck. 

Gower Peninsula, Wales

While Eryri (Snowdonia) understandably looms large as an outstanding spot for Welsh adventures, our panel made a strong case for the Gower Peninsula being a top spot for extraordinary outdoor experiences. 

Why? First up, the Gower Peninsula was Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Beauty. With an extraordinary limestone coast and range of natural habitats, it’s a place to relish unforgettable walks on the wild side. 

On that note, visitors can enjoy the Rhossili headland walk to Worm’s Head — a tidal island that’s only accessible for two hours either side of low tide.

Adventures await on the water, too, with Gower hosting world-class surfing, climbing, abseiling and coasteering opportunities. 

If that wasn’t enough, the Gower Peninsula is also eminently affordable.

Expert’s tip: to get close to nature, book a Dryad Bushcraft course.

Discover more: check out our itineraries and discover the magic of Wales

Arenal volcano in Costa Rica ©Shutterstock

It's clear why Arenal is one of our 24 best travel destinations for 2024 © Shutterstock

Arenal, Costa Rica

From volcano hikes, zip-lining and canyoning, to white-water rafting and invigorating hot spring-bathing, Arenal offers an array of exhilarating activities.

This being Costa Rica — one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet — Arenal also offers incredible wildlife-watching opportunities. 

For example, Arenal Volcano National Park, plays host to everything from toucans and sloths, to coati and capuchin monkeys.  

With activities for all ages and ability levels, Arenal is great for family trips of a lifetime. Wildlife-mad kids with a passion for adventure will be in their absolute element.

Expert’s tip: take a trip on Arenal lake (one of the best Arenal volcano tours), and a night-time nature tour (if you’re not freaked out by snakes, frogs and arachnids!).

Discover more: browse our customisable tropical Costa Rica trip itinerary.

Sunrise on Half Dome in the Forest, Yosemite National Park, California ©  Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock

Yosemite National Park, California ©  Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock

California, USA

California struck a chord with our experts who highlighted the fact that the state has “so many famous places and fun experiences to tick off”.

Kicking off with a couple of icons, how many of us have longed to see the Hollywood sign in real life? Better still, take one of several trails to be wowed by its scale. Or, head to the Golden Gate Bridge for a sublime sunset experience.

For higher-octane adventures, hiking, sand-boarding and star-gazing awaits in Death Valley National Park. Or maybe you fancy biking, rock climbing, rafting and skydiving in Yosemite National Park?

Meanwhile, nature lovers won't want to miss marvelling at the world’s tallest, oldest trees (Hyperion coast redwoods) in Northern California’s Redwood National and State Parks.

Expert’s tip: heading to West Hollywood? The Bottega Louie restaurant is a highlight of the whole area — great food (amazing pizza, pasta and French macaroons!), killer espresso martinis, and great view of the nightlife.

Discover more: read up on California road-trips that include a range of unforgettable, iconic destinations.

Bloukrans Bridge, Tsitsikamma, South Africa © Shutterstock

The Garden Route, South Africa

Stretching between Mossel Bay in South Africa’s Western Cape and the Storms River Mouth on the western edge of the Eastern Cape, the Garden Route is a bona fide bucket list road-trip.

Encompassing sublime beaches and mountain forests, lakes and lagoons, nature reserves and vineyards, few routes offer such a diversity of one-of-a-kind experiences.

For example, Knysna Forest is a top spot to camp, hike and mountain bike, with its Outeniqua Trail offering an epic 7-day trek to Plettenberg Bay. Meanwhile, Kaaimans River in the Western Cape is a divine destination for hiking, abseiling and white-water kayaking. 

Travellers with a head for heights and a hankering for high-energy thrills won’t want to miss leaping from Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikamma — the world’s highest bridge bungee, no less.

Expert’s tip: consider cycling the Garden Route.

Discover more: read up on the best things to do in South Africa. And if you're going on a family trip, also find out all the information you need from our guide to South Africa with kids.

Lake Bled, Slovenia © Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock

Fairy tale enchantment awaits at Lake Bled, Slovenia © Shutterstock

Best travel destinations for relaxing 

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Backed by the majestic Julian Alps, and overlooked by a medieval castle, visiting Lake Bled in north-western Slovenia is pretty hard to beat when it comes to restful travel.

The lake itself is mirror-like, with an adorable island at its heart — truly the stuff of fairy tales. In fact, winter sees this beauty spot host the Bled Winter Fairytale experience, during which the lakeside promenade sparkles with fairy lights. 

For sublime views of the lake, Bled Island and Bled Castle, head up to one of three forested hills — Mala Osojnica, Velika Osojnica, or Ojstrica.

Expert’s tip: be sure to try Bled cream cake (it really is delicious), and reserve a table at Restaurant Sova to enjoy local dishes in atmospheric surroundings.

Discover more: find out why Bled might be Europe’s greenest destination.

"Ile aux Cerfs", Mauritius, Africa with view of the mountain chain "Montagne Bambous" © Bekker Stefan/Shutterstock

ÎIe Aux Cerfs is within easy reach of Trou d'Eau Douce, Mauritius © Shutterstock

Trou d'Eau Douce, Mauritius 

Trou d'Eau Douce (“fresh water hole”) is the kind of azure-water wonderland that makes you feel 100% chilled from just looking at photos of it. Imagine, then, how relaxed you’d feel if you visited this Mauritian marvel?

Located on the east coast of the island, Trou d'Eau Douce was first settled by the Dutch in the 17th century, with historic mills reinvented as art galleries and cafés.

In the main, visitors come to Trou d'Eau Douce for its beaches and laidback, get-away-from-it-all glamour. That and the fact the town is the jumping point for trips to Île Aux Cerfs Leisure Island. 

The epitome of a paradisiacal playground, Île Aux Cerfs serves world-class water-sports, golf and cuisine in tropical surroundings.

Expert’s tip: simply take things slow here. This small, quaint fishing village with little streets and a beautiful beach is the ideal place to just be. 

Discover more: aside from relaxing in Trou d'Eau Douce, read up on the best things to do in Mauritius.

The entrance to the elephant cave "Goa Gajah" on the Indonesian island of Bali © Shutterstock

Goa Gajah, near Ubud, Bali © Shutterstock

Ubud, Bali 

Surrounded by forests, rivers and rice paddies in Bali's uplands, Ubud boasts a bounty of temples, galleries, museums and meditation centres. As such, it’s easy to see why our experts selected it as one of the best destinations for relaxing.

To start your trip in immersive style, make a beeline for Ubud Palace. This vibrant cultural hub showcases traditional dance and art in a splendid historic setting.

Outside town, soul-stirring walks await along paths that run through lush rice paddies, offering views of Gunung Agung volcano. 

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) temple is another highlight. This ancient archaeological site unveils shrines, bathing pools, and an incredible cave decorated with mystical carvings. 

Expert’s tip: for an unforgettable stay (and food), Mana Earthly Paradise comes massively recommended. Run by an NGO, the beautiful eco-villas use renewable energy, natural building materials, and follow sustainable practices, while the restaurant serves probiotic foods made from locally-sourced, organic ingredients.

Explore all the possibilities of travelling to the island that beckons all year round with our guide to the best time to visit Bali. Planning a family trip? Also read our guide to travelling in Bali with kids.

Discover more: fancy blending culture with the bliss of a beach break? Browse our customisable Royal Bali trip.


Captivating Karlovy Vary, Czechia © Shutterstock

West Bohemia, Czechia

West Bohemia is something of a utopia for relaxing travel — think chic spa towns, and remarkably enchanting natural landscapes.

On that subject, West Bohemia’s Šumava National Park — a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — encompasses Central Europe’s largest forest, along with glacial lakes and Boubín primaeval forest. 

Offering all the haunting allure of a fairy-tale, hiking to Black Lake — the largest, deepest lake in Czechia — and legend-rich Devil’s Lake is an unforgettable experience. 

Back on the more beaten track, the spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně reveal more West Bohemian beauty in serenely elegant style.

Expert’s tip: for a budget-friendly city break that’ll leave you recharged and refreshed, spend a long weekend in Pilsen. 

Discover more: read up on where to enjoy hiking and history in the enchanting Czech Republic.

Exterior and garden of Real Alcazar Destination in Sevilla, Spain © Shutterstock

Alcazar, Seville, Spain © Shutterstock

Best destinations for culture and cuisine 

Seville, Spain

Capital of Andalucía, Seville is a Spanish stunner that stirs all the senses courtesy of its extraordinary cuisine and architecture. 

Barrio Santa Cruz, for example, plays hosts to iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site monuments. First up, the Alcázar Réal showcases over 1000 years of history from its opulent royal apartments to glorious gardens roamed by peacocks.

Just opposite, you’ll find the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Its ginormous Giralda bell tower dates back to 1195, when it was the minaret of the Aljama mosque.

After working up an appetite uncovering cultural treasures, foodies will be in their element in Seville. Don’t miss the city’s signature serranito sandwich — pork loin, Serrano ham and grilled green pepper packed into a baguette.

In more good news, our resident Seville aficionado raved about the city’s reasonable prices. 

Expert’s tip: the authentic flamenco performances are a must! Shows don't get more emotive than at La Casa del Flamenco, in the heart of Seville's Santa Cruz district.

Discover more: love your grub? Our Culinary Experience in Seville will set your mouth watering.

Shirakawa village, Takayama, Japan © Shutterstock

Takayama, Japan

Located in the Japanese Alps, Takayama is notable for Sanmachi Suji old town, which sees Japan's prosperous Edo Period (1603-1868) preserved in pristine style.

Due to its location, Takayama was somewhat cut off from the rest of Japan. As a result, Edo Period customs — among them carpentry and sake brewing – thrived here post-1868, and still do today.

Alongside exploring Sanmachi Suji’s exquisitely-preserved merchants’ houses, don’t miss visiting a sake brewery. Meanwhile, meat-eaters should try the local Hida-gyu specialty — beef from cattle raised in the Gifu Prefecture for a minimum of fourteen months.

Then there’s Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village  an open-air museum that showcases shrines and traditional houses in a handsome hillside location.

Culture vultures will also want to take a trip to Shirakawa-go. Home to unique gasshō-zukuri farmhouses, this traditional village is a designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Expert’s tip: don’t be shy! Strip off and relax in a traditional onsen (hot spring).

Discover more: you’ll find more inspiration in our Secrets of Japan trip, which includes Takayama.

Terre de Haut from Le Chameau hill, Guadeloupe © Shutterstock

Terre de Haut from Le Chameau hill, Guadeloupe © Shutterstock

Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe

The largest of Guadeloupe’s enchanting Iles des Saintes, Terre-de-Haut is a gorgeous overseas territory of France.

Exuding joie de vivre at every turn, this bijou island feels at once sophisticated and amiably unpretentious as it serves a moreish mix of top-notch Caribbean-Gallic cuisine and culture.

Its Old Town brims with bistros, boulangeries, boutiques and ice-cream parlours, with Fort Napoleon — perched 114 metres above sea level — revealing local history. 

This being the Caribbean, Terre-de-Haut isn’t short of beautiful beaches, all of them boasting sugar-soft sand and warm waters that are ripe for rewarding snorkelling jaunts.

Expert’s tip: dine at La Fringale for fabulous French-Creole cuisine (be sure to try the boudin sausage), super-friendly service, superb Chablis, and moreish local rum. And all this at surprisingly pocket-friendly prices.  

Discover more: get The Rough Guide to the Caribbean.

Taxco Guerrero Mexico a colorful town © Shutterstock

Taxco, Mexico  © Shutterstock

Taxco, Mexico

A few hours south of Mexico City, and one of Mexico’s best pueblos magico (magic towns), Taxco is celebrated for its silversmith culture.

On arrival, visitors never fail to fall for the charm of its colourful architecture, bursts of bougainvillea, and narrow streets that snake its steep hills. 

Add to that picturesque plazas, fabulous food, and one of Mexico’s most ornate churches — Santa Prisca — and Taxco amounts to a diamond of a destination for culture vultures. 

Touring a silver mine comes highly recommended, as does timing your visit to coincide with a local festival. For example, late November or early December sees silversmiths showcase their best handcrafted creations at the Feria Nacional de la Plata. 

Expert’s tip: occupying the terrace of Hotel Boutique Pueblo Lindo, Rosa Mexicano is a stunning spot to enjoy authentic local food. Don't leave Taxco before trying cochinita pibil, a traditional Yucatec Mayan slow-roasted pork dish, or pozole, a traditional stew.

Discover more: take inspiration from our Mexico itineraries.

Melissani Cave, Kefalonia Island, Greece © Shutterstock

Magical Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece © Shutterstock

Best travel destinations for family holidays

Kefalonia, Greece

While many Greek islands are great for family holidays, Kefalonia was lauded by our experts for offering a richness of experiences for all ages. 

In addition, while Kefalonia offers stacks of all-important family-friendly facilities, it remains relatively uncrowded and retains a rugged beauty. All the better for adding a dash of adventure to family breaks.

Kicking off with the obvious — Kefalonia is loaded with beautiful beaches for fun family days out. As a result of its safe shallow waters, activity offerings and facilities, red-hued Xi beach comes especially recommended if you’re travelling with kids.

Subterranean magic awaits at Melissani Cave and Melissani Lake, where you’ll board a boat to view dramatic myth-laden chambers and rock formations.

Animal-mad little ones will also adore boarding a boat to spot turtles, seals and dolphins.

Expert’s tip: if your little-legged little ones have the stamina, visit Mount Ainos National Park, where Drogarati Cave bares dragon’s teeth stalactites and stalagmites. 

Discover more: read up on the best things to do in Kefalonia.

First light on the sand dunes between Wells and Holkham © Shutterstock

First light on the sand dunes between Wells and Holkham © Shutterstock

North Norfolk, UK

Travelling with kids in the UK? Here's why North Norfolk is one of the best travel destinations for 2024.

With 45 miles of coastline — including six beautiful Blue Flag beaches — it's packed with vast expanses of sand that offer families a refreshing sense of freedom.

In addition to delivering the timeless joys of a traditional seaside holiday — from building sandcastles on Holkham’s unspoilt beaches, to eating fish and chips at Wells-next-the-Sea — North Norfolk has masses to thrill kids along the Deep History Coast Discovery Trail. 

Head to West Runton to walk in the footsteps of the UK’s biggest mammoth. While the colossal skeleton unearthed here is now in the care of a museum, plenty of fossils are still being found in these parts.

Elsewhere, North Norfolk offers everything from steam railway rides, adventure parks and magical gardens, to seal-spotting excursions and children’s theatre. How that’s for variety that’ll keep all ages sated?

Expert’s tip: get close to seals in Blakeney National Nature Reserve. It's best to book a boat trip from Morston Quay.

Discover more: read up on the best things to do in Norfolk.

Monsaraz castle and village and hot air balloons, Alentejo - Portugal © Shutterstock

Alentejo is a hotspot for hot air ballooning © Shutterstock

Alentejo, Portugal

Dune-backed beaches and breath-taking balloon trips. Exhilarating safari parks and magical walks. Covering a large area of southern Portugal, the Alentejo region is a wonderful place for family breaks, not least if you make it a multi-destination experience. 

Top attractions of the region include a duo of UNESCO World Heritage Site towns. Namely, fortified Elvas, and Évora, with its Roman temple, Moorish alleys, medieval walls, and sixteenth-century mansions.

Meanwhile, kids who are crazy about animals will go wild for Badoca Safari Park and Monte Selvagem Animal Reserve.

Back on the coast, dolphin-watching adventures await, along with windsurfing and kite surfing courses for older kids. 

Oh, and any gourmands in your group will be very happy with Alentejo’s food and wine. The region is a major producer of notable full-bodied reds.

Expert’s tip: take to the sky! Alentejo is one of the few places in Europe you can enjoy a dreamy balloon trip around the year.

Discover more: read up on the best things to do in Portugal.

Tropial sunset with boats in Nai Yang Beach, Phuket, Thailand © Shutterstock

Nai Yang beach, Phuket,Thailand © Shutterstock

Nai Yang Beach, Phuket, Thailand

In general, Phuket is a great place for family holidays in Thailand. Many beaches are well-served by amenities, with water parks and child-friendly walks on the wild side (hello, Khao Phra Theao Nature Trai!) when you fancy a change from sea and sand. 

But back to the beach! With a long sweep of sand, excellent swimming conditions at its southern end, and laidback shorefront restaurants, Nai Yang comes especially recommended for families.

Plenty of natural adventures can be had here, too. For example, Nai Yang is right next to Sirinat National Park. If you visit between November and February, you might just get to see leatherback and hawksbill turtles laying their eggs along the park’s coastal fringe.

Added to that, our specialist noted that “it's affordable and easy to access from both Europe as well as the US”. 

Expert’s tip: as much as we love a quiet beach, if there are no vendors around and your child wants French fries at 1pm, it's better to stick to beaches with amenities! It's safer to swim at non-deserted beaches, too.

Discover more: be inspired by ideas for family tours of Thailand.

Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger's Nest, is a Himalayan Buddhist sacred site located in cliffs of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan © Avik/Shutterstock

Taktsang Palphug, Bhutan © Avik/Shutterstock

Best destinations for meaningful travel 

For this category, we asked our experts to consider destinations that present opportunities to travel more responsibly. Places in which you can engage with local communities, environments and wildlife in rewarding, responsible ways that enrich travellers and the local community.

Ura Valley, Bhutan      

Carbon negative, and committed to its citizens’ well-being through a Gross National Happiness Index, majestically beautiful Bhutan obliges tourists to pay a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF).

With SDF revenue transparently allocated to programmes that sustain cultural traditions, protect the environment, and build climate resilience, every visitor contributes something tangible to the country.

As for why to visit, Bhutan is a heavenly destination for adventurers, with challenging Himalayan mountain hikes taking you through pristine landscapes.

Another highlight is trekking up to Taktsang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) — a sacred place that’s improbably sited on a vertical 3000-metre cliff.

Bhutan will also delight travellers interested in culture, courtesy of the thirteen Bhutanese arts and crafts known as the Zorig Chusum.

If you choose to base yourself one place, our experts suggest the Ura Valley. At 3100 metres above sea level, this small rural settlement is one of the highest Bumthang valleys.

Expert’s tip: time your trip to coincide with a festival, like the Ura Yakchoe festival of masked dance. In 2024, this will run 20th–24th April.

Discover more: browse our Mountains and Monasteries trip itinerary to uncover a bounty of Bhutan’s beauty. 

Knepp's deers © Shutterstock

Knepp's deers © Shutterstock

Knepp Rewilding Project, England

While rewilding has become a bit of a buzzword of late, Knepp — an historic, former hunting estate in the heart of Sussex — has been blazing the rewilding trail for some 20 years. 

In that time, the Knepp Rewilding Project has seen endangered species — among them turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies — find a beautiful place to call home here. 

Alongside said endangered species, the 3500-acre site also sees herds of English longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, Exmoor ponies and red and fallow deer roam free.

Visit Knepp to walk countless wildlife trails, or book a safari in the company of an expert guide. You could even opt to stay here – take your pick from bedding down in bell tent, yurt, shepherd’s hut or tree house.

Expert’s tip: visit in spring to see carpets of bluebells, along with piglets, fawns, foals and calves. Meanwhile, autumn sees Knepp ring with the unmistakable bellow and clatter of deer rutting season.

Discover more: read up on ecological attractions and activities in the UK.

Young woman serving rice and curry in traditional rural kitchen. Eco village Hiriwadunna, Sri Lanka © Shutterstock

Visit Hiriwadunna, Sri Lanka, for a taste of rural village life © Shutterstock

Hiriwadunna, Sri Lanka

Intrigued by Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle? Alongside marvelling at more obvious attractions like the Dambulla cave temples and the remarkable Sigiriya rock fortress, head to Hiriwadunna for a taste of village life.

With tours run by guides who are local to the area, visiting the village is a wonderful way to experience rural Sri Lanka while also giving something back. 

In addition, as a result of a period of political unrest, Sri Lanka has seen a decline in tourist numbers. This means your visit to Hiriwadunna will make even more of a difference. 

Trips usually begin with a ride on an ox cart, followed by a walk through rice fields, and a delicious lunch of local vegetable curries.

Expert’s tip: For the ultimate experience, pick the best season for your adventure with our guide to the best time to visit Sri Lanka.

Want to have an unforgettable experience on a family vacation to Sri Lanka? Read our guide to Sri Lanka with kids and pick up some useful tips.

Discover more: see our customisable Wild and Wonderful Sri Lanka trip — it includes Hiriwadunna.

Old lighthouse on isolated island, Shetland, Scotland © Shutterstock

Shetland, Scotland © Shutterstock

UNESCO Trail, Scotland

The first country in the world to link all its UNESCO sites along one route, Scotland’s UNESCO Trail is an amazing way to take in tonnes of natural and cultural wonders.

With thirteen sites in total ­— six World Heritage Sites, two Biosphere Reserves, two Global Geoparks and three Creative Cities — the UNESCO Trail showcases Scotland’s richness while encouraging visitors to travel more responsibly.

As for the route, it covers a remarkable variety of UNESCO designations and a diversity of destinations — from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, to the Global Geopark of Shetland. From St Kilda’s World Heritage Site islands in the Outer Hebrides, to Edinburgh, a UNESCO City of Literature.

While it’ll take around 40 days to cover the entire trail, one of its allures is being able to dip in and out of it, and return to it year after year.

Expert’s tip: if you can, take a trip to Orkney to see the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's utterly enchanting, whether you're into ancient history or not.

Discover more: keen to take less-travelled roads? Read up on spectacular remote places in Scotland

Modern high-speed bullet TGV and regional trains leave Paris from the historic Gare de Lyon station, built for the 1900 World Exposition © Shutterstock

A new 2024 train service between Barcelona and Paris could get you to the Olympics in luxurious style © Neirfy/Shutterstock

Best destinations for new experiences in 2024

Barcelona and Paris  —  scoot between cities on a new train service

Keen to cut down on flights, but don’t want to curb your European travels? You’ll be happy to hear an Italian rail company has just announced plans to launch a new high-speed service between Barcelona and Paris.

Though the exact date has yet to be confirmed, it’s expected to be up and running in time for the Paris Olympics, which kicks off in July 2024. 

Promising a more luxurious experience, and to shave time off the current Barcelona-Paris service (this takes 6 hours 45 minutes), now might be the time to consider taking a multi-destination European rail-trip.

Expert's tip: before zipping to Paris, stock up on snacks from La Boqueria — one of the best food markets in the world for obvious reasons.

Discover more: arm yourself with tips for travelling by train in Europe.

Sperm whale diving © Shutterstock

2024 will see Dominica further protect its resident sperm whales © Shutterstock

Dominica — explore the world’s first marine protected area for sperm whales

While Dominica’s waters have long drawn in-the-know divers, November 2023 saw the island announce the creation of the world’s first marine protected area for sperm whales. 

With Dominica being the only place in the world sperm whales can be seen year-round, this is excellent news for the future of the species. It also means visitors to Dominica’s waters in 2024 will experience something very new, and very special.

Whales aside, it’s clear why Dominica is known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean. Pristine rainforests sparkle and thunder with rivers and waterfalls. Its Boiling Lake — located in the UNESCO-designated Morne Trois Pitons National Park — is the second largest of its kind in the world. 

If that wasn’t enough, Dominica’s 115-mile Waitukubuli Trail is the longest hiking trail in the Caribbean, while its Waitukubuli Sea Trail is the Caribbean’s only sea-kayak trail. For a tiny island, Dominica sure packs magnificent punch.

Expert’s tip: while Dominica is blatantly big on nature, it’s also blessed with big cultural experiences. For example, visit the Kalinago Barana Autê to find out about the island’s indigenous Kalinago people.

Discover more: be inspired by community projects in Dominica.

Malta sunset

Visit Malta in 2024 for the new UNESCO-endorsed Malta Biennale © Shutterstock

Malta — enjoy the new UNESCO-endorsed Malta Biennale

2024 will see the island of Malta — and sister island Gozo — transformed into a spectacular art gallery by the first ever Malta Biennale.

Running from March to May, the Malta Biennale will coincide with the island’s longstanding festa season. This means all corners of both beautiful islands will be energised by everything from traditional parades, to the world-class contemporary art of the Biennele.

With UNESCO having granted their esteemed patronage of the Malta Biennale, many of Malta and Gozo's UNESCO World Heritage Sites will serve as the remarkable settings for events and exhibitions. 

These include the City of Valetta — capital of Malta, and a UNESCO World Heritage Centre — and the megalithic temples of Ġgantija, Gozo.

Expert's tip: if you love food and prefer to stay in less toursity areas, check out Mġarr.

Discover more: read the Pocket Rough Guide to Malta and Gozo.

Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hasan in Cairo with Giza Pyramids in background, Egypt © Shutterstock

Opening in 2024, the Grand Egyptian Museum serves views of the pyramids of Giza © Shutterstock


Giza, Egypt — visit the new Grand Egyptian Museum 

Some 20 years in the making, excitement is building around the 2024 opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). Ancient Egypt aficionados should prepare to be well and truly dazzled. 

While you’ll need to stay tuned for the exact launch date, word is you won’t have to wait long. In fact, the GEM is currently offering tours to test the visitor experience ahead of the official opening.

Offering panoramic views of the Pyramids of Giza, at 490,000 square metres, this extraordinary new space will be the biggest archaeological museum in the world.

Inside, 100,000+ Ancient Egyptian artefacts will be displayed, including 5600 glories from King Tutankhamen’s tomb.

With a massive statue of Ramesses the Great set to dominate the atrium, and a sweeping staircase showcasing statues of 80+ pharaohs and Egyptian gods, the GEM is set to be grand in name and experience.

Expert's tip: pretty obvious, but visit the pyramids as early as possible. It really is worth arriving before the bus tour crowds rock up from 10am.

Discover more: browse our Nile Cruise trip for inspiration.

For more inspiration — and to take the hassle out of planning — let us help you with fully customisable itineraries for destinations across the world.

You might also want to arm yourself with 24 life-affirming travel ideas for 2024, as recommended by Rough Guides’ readers. 

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 11.06.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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