Top 10 cities in the world for travel

July 17, 2014 |

When planning vacation getaways, it can be stressful deciding where to go. Travelers have to decide between going far from home or staying close and even whether they will opt for a domestic destination or head to an international hot spot.

Travel + Leisure recently compiled a list of the some of the world's best destinations among travelers. Only two U.S. cities made the list, and the others are all international locations.

  1. Travel + Leisure readers voted Kyoto, Japan, to be the world's best destination. The city is an ancient imperial capital that's home to the month-long Gion Festival that's more than 1,000 years old. There is also the World Heritage Tours Bus that will take visitors around to see the numerous historical and cultural sites.
  2. Perhaps a surprising U.S. city to make the list is Charleston, South Carolina. This Southern city is a former colonial seaport that is home to antebellum mansions, a fresh seafood scene and a vast cultural background.
  3. Florence, Italy, offers a long list of cultural sites for travelers including Uffizi. If you want to venture through the city's museums, admission is free on Sunday to those that are state-run.
  4. Siem Reap in Cambodia is a world-class adventure travel destination. You can go horseback riding through the city, visit the Cambodia Landmine Museum or head to nearby Kompong Pluk's flooded rainforest.
  5. Rome has long been a top destination for travelers who want to see the world thanks to its ancient sights. The Colosseum is perhaps the most popular of all the city's landmarks, but Rome is full of cultural activities, free concerns and children's programs.
  6. Istanbul is home to one of the most breathtaking sites in the world, the Blue Mosque. The city is located at the junction of Asia and Europe and has a vast history. It's home to museums of Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace as well as the Istanbul hippodrome, the Grand Bazaar and the sunken palace of Basilica Cistern.
  7. Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain and is known for its Mudejar heritage that dates back to the medieval period. There's also a Sephardic Jewish legacy in the city that you can learn more about on one of many walking tours.
  8. Barcelona has a lot to offer visitors including a beautiful setting on the Mediterranean Sea. There's a wonderful public transportation system to help you get around to see the distinctive architecture and taste the Spanish cuisine.
  9. Mexico City is full of museums and is home to beautiful architecture and cultural treasures. You can visit sites such as the Revolution Monument and National Museum in the Plaza de la Republica or just mingle with the locals on the city streets. 
  10. New Orleans is just one of the two U.S. cities to make the list. There are summertime festivals including San Fermin in New Orleans, Satchmo Summer Fest and the COOLinary New Orleans Festival that allows guests to dive into the Crescent City's culture.

Best US destinations
For those who prefer to stay in the U.S., check out some of these top destinations:

  • Visitors will feel like they're in an entirely different world when they visit Maui. This island in Hawaii offers breathtaking scenery, some of the world's most beautiful beaches and fresh seafood that's to die for.
  • Boston is the cultural capital of New England and boasts many historic sights including landmarks from the Revolutionary War. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile history lesson and a must-see for those who want to take a step back in time to see the early beginnings of the country.
  • Yellowstone National Park is a must-see when heading out on a vacation. There are geysers, multicolored pools, bubbling hot springs and hiking trails that go on for miles.
  • Washington, D.C., is the perfect place to really dive into American history. As the nation's capital it's home to monuments that are free to visit as well as an exciting nightlife.