World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

Some destinations are iconic. Time and time again, guidebooks will tell you what spots are must-sees for those who love travel. But everyone has their own idea of where their ideal vacation will take them. So, how do you start planning your dream trip? That's where U.S. News comes in. Using a methodology that takes into account expert analysis in combination with reader votes, we narrowed down the destinations that can be considered the World's Best Places to Visit. This year's ranking list sees cities from almost every continent and cultures from every walk of life. Despite their differences, these destinations do have a few things in common: they boast a variety of one-of-a-kind attractions, iconic sights, unique landscapes and distinct eateries. Find out more about: The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

17. U.S. Virgin IslandsMust-see: Trunk Bay Money-saving tip: Book hotels in April or May, when rates are lower. The U.S. Virgin Islands offer island hopping at its finest. Visitors can take their pick of three main islands - St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix - each of which offers its own special type of paradise. No matter which island you visit, you'll find pristine white sand beaches, including Trunk Bay, and parks like Sandy Point National Wildlife RefugeandVirgin Islands National Park. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in the U.S. Virgin Islands The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

16. Washington, D.C.Must-see:National World War II Memorial Money-saving tip: Instead of renting a car, take advantage of the affordable public transportation options. The nation's capital offers the makings of a classic sightseeing vacation. With numerous national monuments, such as the National World War II Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, you could spend all day walking around the National Mall. Visitors can wander into any of the 17 Smithsonian-sponsored museums, plus the National Zoo, at no cost. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Washington, D.C. The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

15. Vancouver, British ColumbiaMust-see: Granville Island Public Market Money-saving tip: Save on airfare by flying into Seattle and taking a shuttle north to Vancouver. The only Canadian destination on the list belongs to a relatively young city with a chic atmosphere and extensive outdoor attractions. Visitors to Vancouver looking for a cosmopolitan experience will want to head to Granville Island or Yaletown, while those looking to take advantage of the mountains or beaches (or both) should make their way to Grouse Mountain and Stanley Park. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Vancouver The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

14. BahamasMust-see: Junkanoo Money-saving tip: Skip the fancy resort food and opt for local eateries for a more authentic (and cheaper) experience. If there is any place in the world to be on island time, the Bahamas is it. Travelers could spend their entire vacations on the islands' sandy beaches, but venturing outside of the luxurious resorts is also worthwhile. Duty-free shopping can be found at places like Port Lucaya, and if you visit over the New Year's holiday you'll get to experience the sights of the Junkanoo parades. Find out more about: The Best Thing to Do in the Bahamas The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

13. Yellowstone National ParkMust-see: Old Faithful Money-saving tip: Get even closer to nature (and save a few dollars) by utilizing the park's campgrounds. Yellowstone is one of those places you have to see to believe. Pictures of the park don't do nearly enough justice to the Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful geyser and abundance of wildlife that can be found just outside of your tent (because camping is essential to the Yellowstone experience). Another bonus: Since the park is located within Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, you can knock three states off your travel bucket list. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Yellowstone The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

12. PragueMust-see: Charles Bridge Money-saving tip: Dodge taxi drivers - they're known to prey on tourists' wallets. Instead use the underground metro lines to get around. What once was a hidden gem in Eastern Europe has become a well-traveled tourist destination, and it's easy to see why. The Czech capital touts picturesque architectural landmarks - from classics like the Prague Castle to more quirky places like the Dancing House - all of which hold a special piece of the city's resilient history. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Prague The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

11. MaldivesMust-see: Maldives Victory Money-saving tip: All-inclusive rates that cover airfare, accommodations and meals may be your cheapest bet. The Maldives is the perfect destination if you're seeking seclusion. Although the islands are fairly difficult for American travelers to reach (there are no direct flights available), it's worth a trip for the tangerine-tinted sunsets alone. You'll spend most of your time (and money) at a private resort, but if you do venture out, then diving beneath the surface for a look at the shipwreck-turned-reef, the Maldives Victory, should be at the top of your list. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in the Maldives The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

10. San FranciscoMust-see: Golden Gate Bridge Money-saving tip: Buy a CityPASS for unlimited rides on public transportation and discounted entry to top attractions. The City by the Bay attracts visitors from all over the world with its diverse culture and iconic landmarks. The compact city offers sites like the Golden Gate Bridge and the infamous penitentiary-turned-museum Alcatraz. But San Francisco is also known for its outdoor attractions like Twin Peaks, as well as its eclectic neighborhoods like the Castro and Union Square. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in San Francisco The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

9. Cape Town, South AfricaMust-see: Table Mountain Money-saving tip: If you're renting a car, opt out of the rental car's unlimited-mileage fee unless you plan on venturing outside of the city. This South African city has more to offer than just two separate coastlines and breathtaking views of the distinctive Table Mountain. Cape Town is a thriving metropolis with an eclectic arts and dining scene that also manages to preserve its storied past with historic sites like Robben Island and the District Six Museum. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Cape Town The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

8. Rio de JaneiroMust-see: Christ the Redeemer Money-saving tip: Skip the hotels on the coastline for more affordable accommodations in the hip Santa Teresa neighborhood. As the upcoming host of the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro has a lot going for it: gorgeous beaches and gardens like Grumari and Jardim Botânico, along with stylish neighborhoods filled with beautiful people, decadent food and lively dancing. Just don't forget to pay a visit to Christ the Redeemer: Travelers say you can't leave Rio without seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

25. JerusalemMust-see: Old CityMoney-saving tip: Grub on inexpensive food from street vendors. The Holy City has ties to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, making it a top destination for many worshippers. The Old City is home to sacred religious sites like the Western Wall, Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock, but for a more modern look at life in the city make a trip to the Mahane Yehudamarket in West Jerusalem. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Jerusalem The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

7. Maui, HawaiiMust-see: Road to Hana Money-saving tip: Check your current car insurance policy to see if the coverage extends to your rental car. Maui is another island on this list that offers a little something for everyone. Beaches like Kaanapali and Napili are beautiful, of course, but visitors can also dance alongside luau performers at Old Lahaina Luau, whack a few balls at the area's golf courses or take a winding drive on the Road to Hana to marvel at the verdant rainforests. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Maui The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

6. New York CityMust-see: National September 11 Memorial Museum Money-saving tip: Skip hailing a cab in favor for NYC's extensive (and affordable) subway system. The city that never sleeps needs no introduction. New York City invites travelers from around the world to soak up its diverse and vibrant culture. No matter your style, the Big Apple presents the biggest and brightest. At the intersection of arts, architecture, cuisine and everything in between, even New Yorkers take a moment to pause and take in the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in New York City The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

5. SydneyMust-see: Sydney Opera House Money-saving tip: Tipping isn't customary in Australia, but if you receive exceptional service, 10 percent is considered polite. The most populated city in Australia intrigues travelers with its carefree personality and refined metropolis. Landmarks like the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge are no doubt bucket list items for first-time visitors, but don't forget to explore other areas of the city like The Rocks neighborhood, which is home to world-class dining and fashionable boutiques. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Sydney The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

4. ParisMust-see: Eiffel Tower Money-saving tip: Get a Paris Visite pass, which includes unlimited public transportation and discounted admission to top attractions. Marvelous cuisine, superlative museums, distinguished architecture and ambiance in spades, Paris is . well, Paris - there's no denying the city's appeal. Iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Louvre should be at the top of your list but don't be afraid to explore off the beaten path: Many travelers say the city's understated charm lies in its cobblestone neighborhoods and quaint cafes. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Paris The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

3. BarcelonaMust-see: Güell Park Money-saving tip: To save money on lodging and food, skip the hotel and stay in a home or apartment rental instead. Art lovers and eccentrics (and everyone in between) will appreciate all that Barcelona has to offer. Gaudi's famous architecture in places like Güell Park gives the city a feeling of whimsywhile bustling areas like Las Ramblas please visitors looking for a dose of local culture. And for a taste of local flavor, look no further than the Boqueria market. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Barcelona The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

2. Bora BoraMust-see: Matira Beach Money-saving tip: Visit between December and March for deep discounts on room rates. Jumping up the list from No. 10 in 2014, Bora Bora is a destination for those looking to escape into a tropical paradise. The "pearl of the Pacific" is home to unspoiled lagoons, dormant volcanoes and luxurious overwater bungalows. Total relaxation is the goal of the majority of travelers who visit, and most are content with lounging on man-made sands like Matira Beach. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Bora Bora The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

1. LondonMust-see: Buckingham Palace Money-saving tip: To stay on budget, seek out free attractions like Hyde Park and the National Gallery. Making its debut as the world's No. 1 best place to visit, London has it all. British author Samuel Johnson once said, "By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show." A modern city known for its fashion, pub culture and diverse and eclectic neighborhoods, London also brims with history. You can learn all about it with a visit to the free British Museum, and at other sites like Westminster Abbey and the Imperial War Museum. Before making a stop for afternoon tea, make sure to watch the ceremonial changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in London The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

24. Puerto RicoMust-see: El Morro Money-saving tip:If you book two to three months in advance, you can score an affordable escape to the island. Puerto Rico is the Caribbean island that has a little something to offer any type of traveler, from historical sites like El Morro and picturesque beaches to underground caverns and the only tropical forest in the U.S. National Forest System. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

23. Playa del Carmen, MexicoMust-see: La Quinta Avenida Money-saving tip: Avoid timeshare salespeople to save you time (and money). The main reason travelers flock to Playa del Carmen is the beach. Tucked on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, the town beckons to European and American beach bums with its semi-secluded location and upscale resorts. If you ever tire of lounging on the sand, take a stroll along La Quinta Avenida, the town's main street parallel to the shore that features upscale restaurants and a buzzing nightlife scene. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Playa del Carmen The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

22. Crete, GreeceMust-see: Vai Beach Money-saving tip: Toiletry staples like shampoo and toothpaste cost more in Crete, so make sure you buy the necessities beforehand. The island of Crete offers multiple vacations in one. Travelers can relax on sandy beaches and eat at seaside tavernas while more adventurous types can hike through soaring mountains or camp in the forest plains. History buffs can take in ancient ruins; even urbanites will enjoy the more modern Greek life in the cities. No matter which adventure you choose, you'll be welcomed by warm hospitality. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Crete The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

21. Hong KongMust-see: Street Markets Money-saving tip: Taking the tram will only cost you $2.30 Hong Kong dollars (about 30 cents in U.S. dollars) per trip. Hong Kong offers the ultimate juxtaposition of metropolises with Western influences and lushly landscaped islands. The attractions are just as diverse as the Chinese territory - from a racetrack to an assortment of street markets that offer unique goods and experiences. Escaping the fast pace on Hong Kong Island is as easy as a cheap tram ride to quieter neighborhoods. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Hong Kong The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

20. Las VegasMust-see: Fountains at the Bellagio Money-saving tip: Vegas is for gamblers, but figure out how much you're willing to lose before placing a bet. Las Vegas functions as a big amusement park - and it's not just for high-rollers anymore. Sure, there are still endless blackjack tables and world-class nightclubs, but there are also exceptional live shows like Cirque du Soleil, plus activities for kids and fine dining establishments. Just don't forget to stop by the Bellagio one night to check out the spectacular fountain show. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Las Vegas The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

19. Budapest, HungaryMust-see: Thermal baths Money-saving tip: For about $30 USD, you can buy a two-day Budapest Card for unlimited public transportation and deals around the city. This Hungarian city is a favorite for those traveling to Eastern Europe. It's full of history and Renaissance architecture in the Castle Hill neighborhood, and a diverse dining scene fit for wine lovers. But the calling card for a quintessential Budapest experience is a dip in one of the thermal baths, which are heated by natural springs. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Budapest The World's Best Places to Visit



World's Best Places to Visit in 2015-16

18. ZurichMust-see:Old Town Money-saving tip: The city is fairly expensive no matter when you visit but you may find reduced rates during the shoulder seasons (September to November and March to May). Zurich is a fairytale city, complete with medieval architecture in Old Town and breathtaking vistas of neighboring snow-capped mountains from Uetliberg. Visitors won't be stuck in the Dark Ages, though - the city is a modern banking capital with upscale shopping, local wine and Swiss chocolate, of course. Find out more about: The Best Things to Do in Zurich The World's Best Places to Visit
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