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Spend your days snorkeling over coral reefs and gazing at the multitude of marine life that includesthousands of species of fish, turtles, whales, and dolphins. Maui has frequently been ranked as the top island in the entire world. As far as island retreats, it offers everything you can imagine, including dramatic scenery, lavish resorts and adventurous activities.

Despite its popularity, you can still find mostly deserted beaches, like Hulopoe Beach — if you go on a weekday, you might just have it all to yourself, except for perhaps a pod of dolphins that enjoy hopping in and out of the water next to snorkelers. Extending 52 miles along the northern coast from Kahului to Hana, it features gorgeous black sand beaches, sweeping oceans vistas, waterfalls and lush jungle. Bali really does have it all, with natural and spiritual beauty along with a sophisticated social scene. This small island in the North Atlantic is not only easily accessible from the east coast, with direct flights available from New York, Miami and Atlantic among others, it offers a ton of things to do, including snorkeling near pink sand beaches, exploring underground caverns, golfing, shopping and more.

There are numerous luxurious accommodations, ideal for romance and relaxation as well as quite a few world-class spas. Mark Twain wrote from Bermuda back in during his last visit: This palm-fringed island in the Southern Cook Islands in Polynesia makes for the quintessential tropical escape, surrounded by warm turquoise waters and nearly constant bright blue skies.

The island is renowned as one of the best places for snorkeling in the world, with the chance to take a dip among beautiful corals and an array of tropical fish species.

Best Destinations in the World - Travelers' Choice Awards

It offers an array of outdoor activities, including mountain trekking and all types of water sports. Enjoy bird watching, exploring the old colonial capital, dining on diverse and delicious cuisine, staying at one of many top-notch resorts and lying on beautiful beaches.

14 Best Summer Travel Destinations to Visit in 2018

You can even visit one of the best botanical gardens on earth. White Beach is its biggest draw, a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of picture perfect sands at the edge of shallow azure water, perfect for swimming or snorkeling. The beach is lined with bars, restaurants, hotels and dive shops, while colorful parasails often fill the air. Maderia is a haven of stunning natural beauty, with nearly a hundred miles of coastline and dazzling views everywhere you look. You can dive into the serene saltwater bathing areas that are built right into the jagged lava cliffs of a black sand beach.

Set within the Gulf of Thailand, the palm-fringed island of Ko Tao takes its name from the many sea turtles that reside on its shores. White sand beaches sheltered by steep hills, some so steep they can only be crossed via four-wheel drive vehicles, along with days of sunshine annually invite visitors to spend their afternoons relaxing with a good book or indulging in a nap. Stroll the streets, take in its traditional Austrian fare, and enjoy! Tolkien and Ozzy Osbourne.

These days, it's raising eyebrows with a sumptuous foodie movement.


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Prague, with its lovely Charles Bridge, is a major European capital with a thriving arts scene that holds its own when compared with better-known cities across the continent. Ok, can we all just agree that Yosemite National Park is the loveliest place on earth? Visit in fall or winter for an especially mellow, crowd-free vibe. Seville, Spain, has been charming visitors for centuries, thanks to beautiful public spaces and decorative art. Berlin, a forbidding icon of the Cold War just a generation ago, is now welcoming couples, families, and art lovers.

Rent a bicycle and see it for yourself! Southern Germany gets lots of fanfare in October for its beer celebrations, but Munich delivers fun, beauty, and a Disney-worthy castle year-round. They bring out the kid in every traveler, and Edinburgh offers more than its share of these medieval masterpieces.

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Big Sur, California, is as much a state of mind as an actual place, but Pfeiffer Beach, with its colorful sand, could be the epicenter of the region's haunting beauty. For a taste of Spain's nightlife and extraordinary art and culture, there's no place like Madrid. Monuments to the painful 20th-century history of Warsaw are a reminder of how recently this amazingly beautiful, historic city were under seige by totalitarian neighbors.

We love Los Cabos, Mexico, and the Budget Travel reader who captured this beautiful shot a few years back!

Greenville, South Carolina

Istanbul is where east literally meets west, straddling two continents. Hagia Sophia mosque emodies the cultural crossroads, having once been a Christian church. Smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean, beautiful Sicily has been a cultural crossroads for centuries. Palermo is its major city, bearing the influence of Greek, Roman, North African, and contemporary Italian cultures, among others. When in Turkey, get outside the major urban areas to explore the wild side, such as the jagged mountains and amazing towns of Cappadocia.

Dublin boasts more literary cred than many cities twice its size, but it also allows you to blend the literary with libations at Temple Bar, one of the settings in James Joyce's masterpiece, Ulysses. Sure, we associate Vietnam with French-Asian cuisine, winding rivers, and vibrant cities.

The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018

But did you know it's also home to Nha Trang beach, one of the most ideal stretches of surf and sand on earth? Hamburg may be Europe's greenest city, with many forward-thinking projects in progress and a vast amount of parkland. The Beatles got their first taste of international fame here, and Germany's "second city" is definitely worth a stop. Oahu lets you veer from big-city chic in Honolulu to surfing, sun worshipping, and sampling fresh shrimp at oceanside food trucks.

Oh, and did we mention the sunsets? Split, the second-largest city in Croatia, has an amazing beach scene, charming old town, and some of the finest Roman ruins in Europe. Lisbon is a getaway we guarantee will have the folks back home talking—it's just off the radar of many American travelers yet delivers a lovely, energizing experience for visitors.


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Spanish Colonial architecture, gorgeous beachside resorts, tantalizing cuisine, and salsa dancing! Does anywhere in the United States offer more decadent indulgences than Puerto Rico? Costa Rica is the affordable adventure you've been hearing so much about! Is this the year you'll make it to see Arenal Volcano, the rainforest, and the incredible beaches? A stop in Reykjavik, Iceland, is unexpectedly colorful—the far-north city has a playful pallette amid all that ice!

Hong Kong is the world's fastest-growing city—and we can understand why. Is there anywhere else that offers such a blend of European and Asian aesthetics, food, and sheer star power? When you're ready to have many of your cultural and spiritual assumptions shaken up, and be dazzled by the sheer beauty of a destination, it's time to visit India. When you're ready to let the good times roll, New Orleans is the place to be. But in addition to its great food and music scenes, the Crescent City is also home to gorgeous homes and public space.

Riviera Maya, on Mexico's Caribbean coast, blends mind-bending Mayan ruins with all-inclusive resorts on the beach—a vacation with something for everyone. We're pretty sure none of you has seen all of the most gorgeous spots on the planet, but we'd love to hear how many you've made it to so far! This is a search menu.

What's the most popular vacation destination on Earth -- and why? | HowStuffWorks

By typing in the search input you can query all of the articles available on the site and get instant and relevant results from the first keystroke. You can close the search menu by hitting the esc key once if the search input is empty. If you have made a search query hitting the esc key will clear the search input and search results.

You can naviate the search the menu by hitting the tab key. Once you reach the last search result you will be naviated back to the clear button where you can clear the results make a new search query. The whole area is crossed by scenic hiking trails that offer different perspectives of the lake depending on your elevation or location. You can also enjoy its beauty from a kayak or canoe, or just by sitting on a rock at its bank.

Take it all in, no photograph will ever give it justice. Lake Bled, Slovenia If you glimpse Lake Bled in Slovenia from one of the distant mountaintops, you will be convinced that you are seeing some magical, lost fantasy world of dragons and knights: A vivid emerald green lake with a tiny island in the middle with a church perched on its cliff and an ancient medieval castle clinging to its slopes, hugged on all sides by enormous mountains, snow-topped and covered with dark, green, ancient forests. Lake Bled is just as beautiful as you get closer and is a popular Slovenian tourist destination that attracts those seeking romance on Bled Island, visitors enjoying a leisurely hike around the lake or rowing its placid waters, and young adventurers exploring the steep hiking trails of the surrounding Julian Alps and the Karavanke Mountains.

Long and wide, the beach is fabulous for long walks but is even better for swimming as the sand slowly slopes out into the water, so entering it is easy even for children or beginners. You can keep wading for quite a while until you reach waist-deep water. Snorkeling is also popular, but only at the two extreme beach ends where the beach is guarded by natural rock promontories.

Because the beach is connected to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, it is never crowded, although parking is limited. The falls were formed at the end of the last ice age when the water from the Great Lakes broke through the Niagara Escarpment on the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The falls are a hugely popular tourist destination and have attracted honeymooners, families, and daredevils of all kinds, from those who went down the falls in a barrel to those who stretched a wire over the falls and walked across it. The falls have inspired hundreds of artists to create wonderful art and are still inspiring the millions of people who come to admire the majesty of nature as well as its power and its magnificent beauty.

Yellowstone National Park, USA Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the world, consisting of 3, square miles of wild, untamed beauty left aside for the enjoyment of humankind, but also for its own protection. It is a recreation area that is spread across several states, from Wyoming to Idaho and Montana, featuring spectacular and diverse natural features — fast alpine rivers, a simmering volcano displaying its power in gushing geysers and hot springs, deep canyons, dense ancient forests, snow-covered mountaintops, breathtaking vistas, and magnificent trails.

And among all that beauty there is a whole world that calls it home — bears, elk, wolves, bison, and antelopes. The park is much more than a place to come and have fun, it is a precious national treasure. It is what we imagine the surface of Mars to look like, with more than 2, rocks in vivid reds and muted buffs precariously piled up on top of each other to form delicate bridges, pinnacles, and arches. The park stretches over 76, acres across the Colorado Plateau, with the Colorado River bordering it to the southeast. The strange landscape is mostly the result of the salt composition of the underlying soil, the effects of pressure from the sediments, and the relentless work of wind and water.

The best way to see the park is by following one of the many trails, which range from really difficult hikes to easy ones suitable for families. There is a ranger program that offers guided tours, imparting riches of information about the geology, history, and flora and fauna of this magnificent world.

For about 50 kilometers, the coast looks like something a romantic artist might have conjured — sheer cliffs plunging into the azure sea, tiny golden beaches hidden in secluded coves, pastel sun-washed villages hugging the steep slopes of Mount Ravello, and fragrant orange groves competing for attention with ancient vineyards. You can take a typical Mediterranean coastal road between the port of Salerno, famous Positano and Amalfi, and lovely Sorrento perched on the clifftop to enjoy the landscape in all its majesty, or you can take one of the many hiking trails that will take you past old villages, offer spectacular views, and introduce you to some fantastic quaint local restaurants and tavernas.

There is always a festival going on, or a concert, wedding, or celebration in which everyone participates, and there are seemingly endless hiking trails that turn into magical cross-country trails when the winter throws its white blanket over everything. Even for Iceland, which is famous for its strange and curious landscapes, the Blue Lagoon, with its milky-white quiet waters, is a bizarre sight. The lagoon is man-made and fed by water from the Svartsengi, a nearby geothermal power plant.

Actually, the water that comes to the spa has a few jobs to do before being used for beauty and relaxation: After passing through the turbines, the hot water and steam pass through a heat exchanger and provide hot water for a city water heating system. Only then is the water fed into the lagoon for medicinal and recreational purposes. The warm waters in the lagoon are rich in silica, sulfur, and other minerals and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is considered beneficial for certain skin conditions. As you spot this magical place while landing in a small plane from nearby Tahiti, you become aware that you are reaching one of the most beautiful islands in the world, where luxury resorts compete with lavish nature to fulfill your every wish.

Many people come to Bora Bora on their honeymoon to snuggle in one of the many thatch-roofed romantic villas perched over water, where room service is delivered by canoe. There is no place more romantic and more extravagantly beautiful than Bora Bora. The fjords could also be the product of relentless carving by glaciers over some , years, which the sea then filled as far as it could reach. On all sides, these canyon-like fjords are covered by waterfalls that tumble endlessly and thunderously, taking huge quantities of rainwater towards the sea.

Huge granite mountains are dotted with emerald lakes, dense rainforests, and animals that do not exist anywhere else. Walking through Fiordland, it is easy to imagine the world as it looked thousands of years ago. A spectacular creation by glaciers, this fjord is about 15 km long and 1. With almost vertical mountain sides and no habitable coast, the occasional abandoned mountain farms bear witness to the relentless efforts of humankind to conquer nature and gain a foothold.

The most popular way of seeing the fjord is by ferry, but kayaking is as much fun. You will pass by spectacular waterfalls that thunder down the steep mountain cliffs, creating a permanent veil of fog and endless rainbows. Another way of seeing the fjord is by taking the famous Trollstigen road, built in in an amazing feat of engineering, which snakes up steep mountain sides; narrow, occasionally protected by stone railings, and passing by massive waterfalls, it is nerve-wracking yet absolutely fascinating.

The whole area is a dreamland for daredevils and adrenaline junkies, who find the steep cliffs a supreme challenge for climbing, rappelling, and ziplining. Hundreds of immense red sandstone spires, bridges, and other precariously balanced rock formations are intersected by 15 miles of well-managed trails. As expected in a park with so many interesting rocks, rock climbing is very popular. The park formations were formed out of bedded sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates by the forces that built nearby Pikes Peak massif, tilting it into a vertical position.

It is easy to spot the remnants of marine fossils and even the fossils of dinosaurs. The largest rock formation is the feet-tall Gateway Rock.

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