30 best holiday destinations

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 13.05.2024

In collaboration with our diverse team of writers, editors, and staff members, we have curated a list of the best holiday destinations worldwide. Prepare to be captivated by these extraordinary recommendations, which are sure to awaken your wanderlust and ignite your passion for travel.

This article is inspired by our Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for travelling the world.

1. Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast

The sandy, snorkel-friendly Corn Islands - essentially the Caribbean with fewer tourists and lower prices - are among the best holiday destinations. But the rest of Nicaragua's steamy and atmospheric east coast is well worth a visit.

If you want to get off the beaten track - you can nod to reggae in scruffy Bluefields, head on a panga ride to the idyllic Pearl Lagoon, or use remote Puerto Cabezas as the base for trips into the rainforest and to indigenous villages.

Beautiful caribbean Corn island in Nicaragua © Travel With Passion/Shutterstock

Beautiful Caribbean Corn Island in Nicaragua © Travel With Passion/Shutterstock

2. Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is at its most beguiling at dusk. While everyone rushes up Mount Phousi for the sunset, it's better to wander the dusty, quiet side streets. Here the thump of children's ball games is interrupted only by the slow, melodic chanting of the monks from the glittering temples.

One of Southeast Asia’s lesser-known countries, Laos is definitely off the beaten track, but it has retained its culture, charm and traditional village life, wild jungle and stunning countryside. On this tailor-made trip to Historical Laos, you'll find tradition and mystery and a unique adventure.

To better prepare for your upcoming trip to Laos read the Laos travel tips we've collected.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos © Shutterstock

3. Marrakesh, Morocco - one of the best holidays destinations for a cultural mix

Just a few hours and a budget flight away from the UK, Marrakesh is hard to beat as one of the best holiday destinations. Here you'll find the alluring mix of modern and traditional culture, from the sprawling souks and tranquil riads of the medina to the nouvelle villa's hedonistic nightlife.

This tailor-made trip to Deserts & Marrakech packs a lot of highlights in a very short timeframe. Ideal for those that want to discover Morocco in a few days without spending too much time driving around.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Marrakesh.

Market and Food Stalls, Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco, Africa ©  Ivan Soto Cobos/Shutterstock

Jemaa El Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco © Shutterstock

4. Curonian spit, Lithuania

A 98km-long sliver of sand-covered land straddling Lithuania and Russia, the Curonian Spit is the ideal getaway from life's troubles. Grab a bike, pack a sandwich and cycle your way between the dunes, past fishing villages and through forest trails. Then picnic on the beach. Perfect.


Curonian Split, Lithuania © Shutterstock

5. Palm Springs, California, USA

Much of Palm Springs is still stuck in a mid-century modern time warp. However, the sprawling desert city is growing (for better or worse) increasingly popular with LA urbanites keen for the same sun, spas and mountain views that attracted the '50s entertainers in its heyday. Sitting in a hot tub under the stars and palm trees, margarita in hand after a long day doing nothing, is still one of the most relaxing experiences you can have.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs resident district © sirtravelalot/Shutterstock

Palm Springs, California © Shutterstock

6. Jim Corbett National Park, India

The diverse wildlife at Corbett Tiger Reserve ensures a memorable trip whether or not you are lucky enough to bump into one of these impressive felines. Nevertheless, a visit to the misty Ramganga River with your toes dangling feet away from a snarling tiger is an experience that's hard to beat.

On this tailor-made Indian Wildlife Safari, you will meet Bengals, birds, monkeys, leopards and more visiting India's famous national parks. Experience the countryside by rail, soak up some culture at the Taj Mahal and Ranthambore Fort and finish with some shopping and sightseeing in the bustling capital, Dehli.

Bengal tiger in Bandhavgarh, India © Shutterstock

Bengal tiger, India © Shutterstock

7. Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is famous for being the birthplace of the Titanic, but there's a lot more to it than shipbuilding. Newly rejuvenated, Belfast is known for its tempting array of sparkling shops and an invigorated bar and restaurant scene. While here, try the friendly and bohemian Ginger Bistro. You'll find the city has a tangibly enthusiastic and forward-thinking attitude.

Ireland's rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes and laid-back lifestyle make it one of the best holiday destinations. On this tailor-made trip to Ireland & North Ireland, you will visit the famous Giant's Causeway, the fascinating Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry and many more highlights.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Belfast

Belfast City Hall ©  Susanne Pommer/Shutterstock

The Belfast City Hall at Donegall Square, Northern Ireland © Shutterstock

8. Battle Harbour, Labrador, Canada

Spending the night in one of the creaky bunkhouses on isolated Battle Harbour really is a trip back to the eighteenth century. There are shimmering blue-white icebergs, humpbacks, and killer whales gliding beneath the pier. The friendly folks here still talk like they're in Moby Dick. Soak up the accents and the sense of utter isolation.

Battle Harbour, Newfoundland, Canada © Josef Hanus/Shutterstock

Battle Harbour, Newfoundland, Canada, Labrador © Shutterstock

9. Borrowdale, Cumbria, England

Hop on the bus from Keswick into the heart of some of Britain's best holiday destinations. Take the road from the lapping shores of Derwent Water to the crags of Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain. The adventure here is different every time, whether it's kayaking or peak-bagging — the Lakeland outdoors never fails to thrill.

Old village church at Borrowdale © Simon Baylis/Shutterstock

10. Potosí, Bolivia

At a breathless 4090m above sea level, Potosí is the highest city in the world and was once one of the wealthiest. There's a treasure trove of colonial art and architecture and a fascinating history to discover - just make sure you acclimate first.

Bolivia for those on a tight timeline. On this tailor-made trip to Highlights of Bolivia, you will visit the de facto capital La Paz and a day tour of Lake Titicaca with the beautiful Copacabana town. A short flight to Uyuni will allow you to explore the wonders of salt processing before heading back to La Paz.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Potosí.

Center of the city of Potosi at sunny day, Bolivia © Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

Sunny day in Potosi, Bolivia © Shutterstock

11. Si Phan Don, Laos

Landlocked Laos isn't known for its beaches. But in the luscious southern part of the country, the Mekong splits into a spectacular web of channels, creating thousands of sand-fringed river islands. Si Phan Don's natural beauty is staggering (if you're lucky you'll spot highly endangered Irrawaddy dolphins). However, the biggest pleasure comes from chatting with the laid-back islanders, who always have a warm smile for visitors.

Mekong river, Luang Prabang port in Laos © i viewfinder/Shutterstock

Mekong River, Luang Prabang port in Laos © I viewfinder/Shutterstock

12. Darwin, Australia

Young, vibrant and cosmopolitan, Darwin has transformed itself over the last decade to become one of Australia's most liveable cities and one of the best holiday destinations. Today you're just as likely to meet young locals out for sushi and cocktails as you are a Crocodile Dundee stumbling out of a pub. When you add on the Top End's incredible wildlife and Aboriginal sites, Darwin becomes a must-see on any Aussie itinerary.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Darwin.


Darwin, Australia © Shutterstock

13. The Somerset Levels, England

A curious patchwork of rivers, rhynes, drains and ditches, the Somerset Levels provide some of the best inland birdwatching in the UK. Old peat workings in the mist-draped Avalon Marshes are home to a hobby, marsh harrier and the rare bittern. While April and May see herons and their young gathering in the treetops of Swell Wood.

Little Egret Flying, Isle of Wight

The Somerset Levels - one of the best holiday destinations for bird watchers © Shutterstock

14. Dana, Jordan

If travel is about expanding your mind, Dana is one of the best holiday destinations for you. A tiny cliff-side village in southern Jordan's craggy mountains, it has views to inspire. Discover this area's small, locally run guesthouses, hidden campsites, lonesome trails and incredible hospitality. Dana's peace humbles and you'll never want to leave.

On this tailor-made Honeymoon in Jordan, you will indulge in a blissful honeymoon, where relaxation and adventure await. Soak in the soothing Ma'in Hot Springs, explore the captivating landscapes of Wadi Rum, and wander hand in hand through the ancient wonders of Petra.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Dana.


Dana, Jordan © Shutterstock

15. New Orleans, USA

Forget what you think you know about Katrina, Southern Comfort, or Bourbon Street - New Orleans is a place unlike any other. This old port city is fiercely proud of its unique music, culture, language and food. It's a city that can't fail to enchant. You'll find here noisy brass band buskers and exhilarating street parades. Try the cuisine of the elegant Creole dining rooms (try Galatoire's) and hole-in-the-wall jambalaya shops (Coop's is great),

Explore three major US cities on this tailor-made cross-country USA trip. From the hilly streets of San Francisco to the glitzy lights of Las Vegas to the French Quarter in New Orleans, this tour allows plenty of time to discover hidden local gems.

For more accommodation options in New Orleans, explore our list of the best places to stay in New Orleans.

Bourbon St, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA © Shutterstock

16. Berlin, Germany

With its notoriously hedonistic nightlife, tumultuous history and easy-going, cosmopolitan vibe, Berlin is indisputably one of Europe’s most compelling cities. Add a generous feeling of physical space, a cutting-edge cultural scene and the emergence of a buzzy startup culture, and it’s easy to see why so many people are not just visiting the freewheeling German capital but moving here in droves.

The German capital Berlin has plenty to offer: from historical sites to world-class museums and a vibrant nightlife. Enjoy this private tailor-made tour to explore a wide range of activities in Berlin and Potsdam, including several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Berlin.

Television tower Berlin, Germany © Shutterstock

Television Tower Berlin © Shutterstock

17. Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona, USA

Deep in the dry-as-bone Grand Canyon lies an utterly beautiful oasis, where trickling streams join to cascade down magnificent turquoise waterfalls. It has been home to the Havusapai for at least a thousand years, but travellers prepared to hike ten switchbacking miles from the nearest road are welcome to camp overnight.

Havasu Falls is on the Havasupai Reservation in Supai, Arizona in the Southwest corner of the Grand Canyon © Arlene Waller/Shutterstock

Havasu Falls on Havasupai Reservation, Supai, Arizona, Grand Canyon © Shutterstock

18. Svalbard, Norway

This Arctic archipelago is about as end-of-the-world as you're ever going to get. Thee soil here freezes to depths of up to half a kilometre and the polar bear-to-people ratio is 2 to 1. But Svalbard's Bergmanesque landscape, gorgeous light and opportunity for outdoor adventure make it one of the best holiday destinations.


Dog sled, Svalbard, Norway © Shutterstock

19. Solu-Khumbu, Nepal

People come to this still-remote region of Nepal for one reason: to see Mount Everest. But Solu-Khumbu offers more than mere mountains. It plunges from snowy ridges occupied by Sherpa Buddhist monasteries to lush, steaming valleys creaking with bamboo. It's beautiful and uplifting and, best of all, there are no roads.

Experience Nepal's hill villages and jungle lowlands as you embark on this tailor-made Himalayan Family Adventure. Expect mini mountain treks, overnight camps, river rafting and wildlife safaris. Come here for action, stunning mountain scenery and a look around bustling Kathmandu too.

Tengboche Monastery with stupa and mount Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam, the best monastery in Khumbu valley, trek to Everest base camp, Sagarmatha national park, Khumbu valley, Nepal © Shutterstock

Tengboche Monastery with stupa and Mount Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam in Khumbu Valley © Shutterstock

20. Soho, London, England

Louche, occasionally lairy and always alive, Soho never fails to thrill. A mix of old-school glamour and lingering sleaze, this central pocket of the capital celebrates diversity and tolerance like nowhere else. Both day and night, it's busy, buzzing and beautiful.

Find more accommodation options to stay in London.


The view of London © Shutterstock

21. Tasmania, Australia

Over the last decade, Tasmania has ditched the heritage clichés and grown into a role as Australia's alternative state. Nowadays, Tassie features the most adventurous gallery in Oz, MONA, yet retains stupendous scenery that is wilder than Loony Tunes' Tasmanian Devil.

Nelson Falls, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania, Australia © Ivan Yim/Shutterstock

Nelson Falls, Tasmania, Franklin River © Shutterstock

22. St Ives, Cornwall, England

Getting to St Ives is half the fun, on the quaint branch line from St Erth that runs along a curve of sandy coast. St Ives has all the traditional bucket and spades pleasure of the cutting-edge Tate, intriguing painting studios, and the acclaimed Porthminster Café and Restaurant which sits right on the beach.

Find more accommodation options to stay in St Ives.


St Ives, Cornwall © Shutterstock

23. Beng Mealea, Cambodia

Cambodia is like nothing else. From the relentless buzz of Phnom Penh to the breathtaking beauty of Siem Reap, this country is truly one of the best holiday destinations. Angkor Wat is beautiful, but even more impressive is Beng Mealea, a secluded set of ruins straight out of Indiana Jones - don't miss it!

Prepare to be beguiled by Cambodia’s unspoilt charms and cultural treasures. On this tailor-made Cambodia Cultural Discovery, you will tour the capital, Phnom Penh, with its romantic cafes and haute cuisine. Discover ancient, awe-inspiring temples, and stunning countryside.

Beng Mealea, Cambodia

Beng Mealea © Kia Abdullah

24. Naples, Italy

For an authentic slice of Italian life, head to Naples, a raucous, chaotic city that's brimming with rough-and-ready charm. Wander its ancient streets, dotted with Madonna shrines and buzzing with scooters. Or explore its beautiful Baroque churches and top-class museums. While here, be sure to stop at one of its hole-in-the-wall pizzerias for a world-class margherita.

Colourful villages draped over steep cliffs, cities steeped in culture and history, crystal-clear warm waters and cities frozen in time – South Italy has a lot to offer. Experience it for yourself with this Best of South Italy tailor-made trip.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Naples.


Naples, Italy © Shutterstock

25. Tsavo West National Park, Kenya

The combined area of Tsavo West and Tsavo East national parks makes this by far the biggest wildlife reserve in Kenya, and one of the best holiday destinations in the world. It’s the same area as Wales, and two-and-a-half times bigger than Yellowstone National Park in the US.

Of the two Tsavos, Tsavo West is encircled by roads and encroaching human populations and is the most visited and the most developed. Here, a combination of magnificent landscapes and good access and facilities attracts visitors in large numbers. The well-watered, volcanic soils support wooded grasslands and a great quantity and diversity of animal life – though it’s not always easily seen.

On this tailor-made trip to Kenya, you will explore Kenya's vast national parks. After a few days of waking up early to spot wildlife, relax on the fine sandy beaches of Diani in the Mombasa area.

Zebra in Tsavo National Park - Kenya © ANTONIO JIMENO JIMENEZ/Shutterstock

Tsavo, Kenya © Shutterstock

26. The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Covering some nine thousand square kilometres of the Altiplano west of Uyuni, the Salar de Uyuni is the world’s biggest salt lake. This is no doubt one of Bolivia’s – and South America’s – most extraordinary attractions. Most people visit the Salar on a tour that continues southward to take in the equally dramatic Reserva de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa.

This high-altitude wildlife reserve covers the most southwestern corner of Bolivia, taking in en route a series of incredible landscapes and jaw-droppingly scenic lakes, several of which host large populations of flamingos.


Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia © Shutterstock

27. Winterton-on-Sea, England

This is one of the best holiday destinations on the Norfolk coast. Children will love to run around in the dunes here, the beach is huge and sandy and - big plus - you can take your dog. There's a great café to warm up (or cool off) in afterwards and the village has a great pub too.

Barnham Overy Staithe beach on Holkham bay, North Norfolk @ Andy333/Shutterstock

Barnham Overy Staithe beach on Holkham Bay, North Norfolk @ Andy333/Shutterstock

28. Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

Every time you'll visit Mexico, you'll discover something new and exciting. The diversity and depth of traditional (and modern) culture here is a treasure. Spend some time in the Yucatán, with its relaxing attitude and strong Maya traditions, then, drive one of the winding highways to another state and it's a totally new and thrilling world.

Yucatán is calling you, and this Mayan Hertitage tailor-made trip is the way to do it. Go into the jungle and know it as no one else has ever known it. Enjoy incredible food, beautiful sunsets, and the warmth of its communities that will do everything possible to offer you a dream experience.


Mayan ruins in Tulum, Yucatan © Shutterstock

29. Lapa, Rio de Janeiro

West of Cinelândia, Lapa is an old bairro with a faded charm. Carioca historian Brasil Gerson, in his 1954 História das Ruas do Rio de Janeiro, describes it as having been an “area of cabarets and bawdy houses, the haunt of scoundrels, gamblers, swashbucklers and inverts, and the walkway of poor, fallen women”.

More recently, things have been looking up, with the area blossoming into Rio’s top spot for an evening’s drinking, especially at weekends, when all its bars spill out onto the street.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Rio de Janeiro.

escadaria-selaron-lapa-steps-rio-de -janeiro-brazil-shutterstock_290471360

Lapa steps in Rio de Janeiro © Shutterstock

30. Tokyo, Japan

With its sushi and sumo, geisha and gardens, neon and noodles, it may seem that Tokyo is in danger of collapsing under the weight of its own stereotypes. Yet ticking off a bunch of travel clichés is rarely this much fun and as you might expect of the planet’s largest metropolis, there’s also enough nuance here to keep you entertained for a lifetime.

Ordered yet bewildering, Japan’s pulsating capital will lead you on a merry dance. This is Asia at its weirdest, straightest, prettiest, sleaziest and coolest, all at the same time.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Tokyo.

Ginza, Tokyo © 7maru/Shutterstock

Ginza, Tokyo © 7maru/Shutterstock

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