Frommer's Best Places to Go in 2024
The long saga of life on Earth frequently goes through rough spots in the narrative, but even in the story's darkest passages, bright spots always abound. The world is as wide as it ever was, and it’s still brimming with positive things worth discovering and celebrating.
The human drive to venture to new places, meet people who live differently, and learn to understand them remains crucial to our collective future, perhaps now more than ever.
We travelers seem to know this deep down, because our drive to wander also seems stronger than ever. A recent survey by Allianz Partners found that 61% of people intended to take a vacation before the end of 2023—the highest level reported since 2010.
Yet we’re not traveling with the same abandon. We're being more thoughtful. Just as our post-pandemic euphoria peaked, uneven economic times took hold, reflected in an October 2023 survey by Bankrate that found 77% of travelers were adjusting future plans due to higher costs.
This year, Frommer's selections for the Best Places to Go combine our growing hunger for fresh discovery, balanced with a rising need for affordability and accessibility. Frommer’s authors, researchers, and staffers around the globe have selected destinations that shine in our time and are expecting rising fortunes in 2024.
Whether it’s forging new inroads to previously isolated attractions, marking milestones in sustainability or cultural heritage, or basking in a previously denied spotlight, each destination on our Best Places to Go list could play a pivotal role in our shifting travel sensibilities in 2024.
Even in unsettled times, we can and must find ways to build a more positive future. Our Best Places don’t just represent the best in the world—they show us how to make the best of our world. As long as we're still curious enough to travel, there's hope.
Here, in no particular order, are the Best Places to Go in 2024.
You probably won’t visit Seville in the peak of summer in 2024—it just gets too hot. But the warming environment is the reason why this Andalusian capital is transforming into a model for other tourist cities. Faced with the challenges of climate change and overtourism, Seville is forging an identity in ecological mitigation and has plans to be climate neutral by 2030.
The city's historic landmarks—the Alcázar palace, the beautifully restored La Giralda tower, the timeless alleyways of Barrio de Santa Cruz—attract large numbers, prompting Seville to devise technological solutions to reduce the damage. They include eco-friendly trams and bike-sharing to smooth congestion, measures to improve crowd security and impacts, and efforts to expand accessibility. These programs, which also promote traditional building materials and the conversion of public buildings to energy sustainability, earned Seville the title of European Capital of Smart Tourism from the EU in 2023.
As ever, Seville will host a slate of colorful events throughout 2024. Semana Santa (Holy Week) processions in March are the most famous in Spain. April’s Feria is an exuberant display of horsemanship and dressing up. November brings the Billie Jean King Cup international tennis finals. And the Día de los Reyes on the 12th day of Christmas is a cavalcade of candy-tossing—a party that the environment-conscious authorities follow up with a thorough hosing-down of sticky streets. —Peter Barron
Wrapped around the winding Brisbane River in Queensland, Australia’s third-largest city (with 2.5 million residents) has, until recently, been regarded as an uneventful town divided inconveniently by water. But suddenly, Brisbane has learned how to conquer that natural obstacle and convert the river into a world-class asset, devising new ways to go over, under, and around the waterway—and show it off at new entertainment districts with dazzling views.
The high-rise Queen’s Wharf hotel-and-dining precinct, set to open in August 2024, includes a pedestrian bridge to South Bank, the city’s vibrant and expanding cultural center. Introduced in late 2020, free KittyCat ferries (smaller and more fun than the commuter CityCats) zip to popular stops such as Howard Smith Wharves, a 2019 redevelopment featuring a sustainable art hotel known as Crystalbrook Vincent, the sprawling Felons brewpub, and bustling restaurants under the landmark Story Bridge, which also has its own adventure climbing experience.
The Cross River Rail project, due to finish in 2026 much to the delight of Queenslanders, will add train tunnels under the water, uniting the city’s cleft transit options by the time Brisbane hosts the 2032 Summer Olympic Games.
Called Meanjin in local Indigenous languages, Brisbane is already an easy jumping-off point for eco-tours on the world’s two largest sand islands—K’gari (formerly Fraser Island) and Minjerribah (also known as North Stradbroke Island). New daily nonstop flights from Vancouver on Air Canada and San Francisco on United Airlines make Brisbane a convenient base for heading to tropical North Queensland and the imperiled Great Barrier Reef, too.
Brisbane’s reputation as a generic Aussie backwater is over. It belongs to the world now. —Jeanne Cooper
Panama City is finally getting some time in the spotlight. Since 2019, travelers have been able to access the long-overlooked city through expanded passenger terminals at Tocumen International Airport and Fuerte Amador cruise port; Copa Airlines’ no-extra-fee extended Panama Stopover program is also enticing flyers to explore the city on the way to other destinations.
The new ease of arrival and added capacity are spurring improvements in neighborhoods such as Casco Viejo (Old Quarter; sometimes promoted as Casco Antiguo), a district of brick streets and rooftop bars that has become a a UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed setting for nightly DJ-soundtracked parties under starry skies. Only the second major hotel to open in Casco Viejo, the Hotel La Compañía is a luxe reimagining of three crumbling buildings constructed by waves of Jesuit, French, and American arrivals.
During daytime explorations, visitors bike the waterfront on the 3.7-mile (6-km) Amador Causeway, formed with rocks discarded during the construction of the Panama Canal and expanded in 2017 with a multimillion-dollar investment. The capital city that united the Northern and Southern hemispheres is about much more than impressive canals. It’s where a lively new international scene is being constructed out of historic places. —Rina Nehdar
In May 2024, the Kentucky Derby turns 150 years old, a milestone that will be celebrated with heroic feats of day-drinking among Derby enthusiasts (and will hopefully give Derby officials cause to address the mysterious deaths of horses in 2023). In the same month, the PGA Championship returns to Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club, where in 2000 Tiger Woods managed one of the most dramatic championships of his career.
There is more to Kentucky, however, than high-profile springtime sporting events. The real reason to visit is Kentucky itself. The state's rolling green hills are dotted with historic bourbon distilleries, many of which were built in the late 1800s but sat vacant for decades after the devastating effects of the Prohibition era.
One by one, those distilleries have been refurbished and reopened, and the state launched the Kentucky Bourbon Trail—which isn’t a trail, per se, but a network of distilleries. To accommodate a new influx of visitors, Kentucky's tourism infrastructure has taken major strides, opening the sexy Manchester Hotel in Lexington's Distillery District in 2023, with an upscale, $60 million Canopy by Hilton property arriving in 2024 near Louisville's evolving Whiskey Row.
The distilleries are expanding their tourism appeal, too. Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto recently added a new restaurant; Log Still Distillery in Gethsemane is on track to open new dining and lodging options in 2024; and the city of Versailles has secured grant money to develop a hotel for guests of Woodford Reserve Distillery nearby.
Kentucky is quickly shaping itself into the Napa Valley of the Heartland, but with bourbon. Go now, before those charming country back roads are clogged with tour buses. —Dan Renzi
Chemnitz is preparing for its role as a 2025 European Capital of Culture, spiffing up old theaters and converting warehouses and even garages for events and exhibitions. The festivities top off the city’s transformation in the 35 years since German reunification that have seen Chemnitz go from a drab industrial backwater to a modern metropolis.
Even more impressive is the renaissance of near-neighbor Dresden. One of the most beautiful cities in Europe was quite literally blown off the map in Allied fire bombings near the end of World War II, then locked behind the Iron Curtain during years of communist rule. The city felt like one big construction site for many years, as palaces, churches, and other monuments were slowly rebuilt from the rubble.
Nowadays, though, much of the Old Town can be savored in its former 18th-century baroque glory. The bell-shaped cupola of the Frauenkirche rises above the pleasure pavilions of the Zwinger palace, the Semperoper opera house (where the work of Richard Strauss premiered), and the recently reopened Residenzschloss, a palace filled with treasures that include the glittering gems of the famous Green Vault.
Not that the capital of Saxony is just a time capsule—the hip 19th-century Neustadt (New Town), left mostly unscathed by the bombings, has the youthful energy of Berlin. Rivaling Dresden’s architectural wonders are the mountains and gorges of Saxon Switzerland National Park, a short boat ride away up the River Elbe.—Stephen Brewer
San Miguel de Allende, rich with luxury hotels, vineyards, and magnificent temperate weather, is fabulous. But the crowds of North American tourists speaking English and drinking chardonnay can make that city feel like an outpost of Northern California.
Try Guanajuato, just a little over an hour’s drive away. Founded by the Spanish in the early 1700s and built with the vast wealth derived from the area's silver mines, Guanajuato is a gorgeous, elegant, living museum of Mexican culture. The winding, hilly streets are a treasure trove of baroque and neoclassical architecture mixed with candy-colored row houses, tree-filled parks and elegant plazas, and murals illustrating the city's role in the Mexican fight for independence.
Museums abound, including Museo Casa Diego Rivera, the former home of the famous Mexican muralist, and Museo de las Momias, a creepy (and disturbingly popular) collection of preserved human remains from a nearby graveyard. Guanajuato is already a top destination for Mexican nationals, especially in October during the Festival Internacional Cervantino, a visual and performing arts celebration that is one of the most important cultural events in Latin America.
Music and theater are part of daily life here, especially at night (thanks to that incredible weather), when you can join a callejoneada. These evening tours through the city streets are led by university students known as estudiantinas, who wear period costumes as they perform music and tell funny stories, inviting spectators to sing and dance (and drink) along. —Dan Renzi
A longtime favorite holiday haunt of Kiwis and Aussies, the English-speaking Cook Islands, located about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, are still under the radar for most U.S. residents. On average, only about 8,000 Americans visit these Polynesian settlements each year.
But that may not be the case for long. Hawaiian Airlines, which hadn't offered a flight from Honolulu to Rarotonga for three decades, revived service in May 2023. It's the only flight to the Cook Islands directly from the United States. Another enticement: The U.S. dollar goes a long way here, making expenses on the ground a lot lower than during visits to Tahiti or Hawaii.
The South Pacific archipelago is home to turquoise waters, volcanic mountains, and marine life including spotted eagle rays and humpback whales (July–Oct). As opposed to other tropical islands where monolithic resorts predominate, the vibe in the Cook Islands is one of boutique hospitality. Beaches are never crowded, traffic is nonexistent, there are no annoying tour coaches, and no buildings stand taller than a coconut tree. Think Hawaii, but 90 years ago. —Sarah Sekula
In 2024 New Mexico's enchanting capital city will ring in the 100th anniversary of the Burning of Zozobra, a Labor Day tradition in which a 50-foot-tall dummy of a mythical figure stuffed with “glooms” (aka divorce documents, parking tickets, and other downers) gets cathartically burned to the ground.
As if to balance that scene of cleansing destruction, Santa Fe abounds, as usual, with artistic creation, too. New Mexico Museum of Art Vladem Contemporary opened in September 2023. Meanwhile, modern Native American artistry is establishing new platforms across town: A new gallery show at the Indigenous Art Fair Contemporary launches in August 2024 with the aim of being the Art Basel of Native American art, while the first Santa Fe Indigenous Fashion Week hits the runways in May.
In August 2023, the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado launched an 8-hour Tsi’pin Ruins Tour that pairs guests with a geologist and archaeologist to discuss artifacts and explore ancient Indigenous dwellings built around the year 1175. The hotel also leads yoga/hiking/meditation excursions to Plaza Blanca, an area so dreamy it was Georgia O’Keeffe’s go-to canyon for inspiration. —Sarah Sekula
This unfairly overlooked natural wonder marks its 100th anniversary as a U.S. national monument in 2024. Chances are you’ve never seen it.
Home to spectacular geological formations some 15,000 years in the making, this rugged landscape of sand dunes, lofty peaks, and lava fields has an otherworldly beauty that reminds even NASA of the moon. In fact, Apollo 14 astronauts trained here in 1969.
In the summers, rangers and astronomers host free Star Parties for observing the heavens in a spot that has “some of the darkest night skies of any national park unit,” according to the the National Park Service. In 2024, those evenings will be augmented by special events to celebrate the monument's centennial.
After 5 years of construction across cooled lava flows, the park’s North Crater Flow Trail will reopen in spring as the site's first wheelchair-accessible trail. That much-needed improvement helps update a seemingly timeless site encompassing a 1,200-year-old tree and the ancient remains of eroded vents and cinder cones.
Boise, where you'll find the closest major airport, is about a 2.5-hour drive away. Before or after your trip to Craters, make sure to check out some of the intriguing developments in Idaho's capital. The Avery Hotel & Brasserie, once a historic boxing venue and theater, recently opened after years of vacancy, and the 122-room Hotel Renegade, a new building with an eighth-floor restaurant that will have commanding views of the area, is slated to begin welcoming guests in the spring of 2024. —Sarah Sekula
As soaring temperatures turn the Greek isles and other popular Mediterranean getaways into literal hot spots, Scotland’s wildly scenic islands deliver a breath of fresh air, with summertime temperatures rarely climbing out of the 60s Fahrenheit (or upper teens Celsius). The Hebrides, off the west coast, are a haven for sea life, heaven for seafood lovers, and an unspoiled playground for hiking, biking, kayaking, and other outdoor pursuits. For the truly hearty, that includes swimming off the white sandy beaches of Barra and Harris. On Islay, meanwhile, the preferred pastime is drinking some of the world’s finest whiskies from the island’s nine distilleries.
To the north, the Orkneys are edged with dramatic sea stacks and the remarkable remains of villages where islanders farmed and fished 5,000 years ago. Even farther north, halfway between Scotland and Norway, the Shetlands are sprinkled with Viking settlements and brimming with bird life—as well as sheep, from which the islands’ famous wool is spun. This is also where sturdy little Shetland ponies roam wild.
All of these islands are just a ferry ride away from the mainland, but a world apart, with more than a hint of magic to each of them. —Stephen Brewer
In Greta Gerwig’s boffo, bonkers Barbie movie, getting to Barbieland from our human realm requires traveling through six different stages of limbo via six different pink-hued vehicles. But by the end of 2024, you’ll have a less arduous way to enter the plastic icon’s world: Go to Glendale, Arizona.
The Phoenix suburb is getting the globe’s first Mattel Adventure Park, a mostly indoor and therefore mercifully air-conditioned attraction devoted to the toy maker's intellectual property. Alongside two Hot Wheels roller coasters and family-friendly fun inspired by Uno and other beloved childhood relics, a “full-scale” Barbie Beach House will let visitors raid Barbie’s closet, dine at a rooftop restaurant, and commune with the “fashion doll” herself by hologram.
The Mattel theme park will be part of the massive, 60-acre VAI Resort complex, also set to open in late 2024 near State Farm Stadium, where the NFL's Arizona Cardinals play. Billed as the largest hotel in Arizona, the VAI property will encompass 1,100 guest rooms, an outdoor concert venue, a “party island” with a manmade beach and “swimming oasis,” 12 restaurants, a 130-foot-high sky bar, and a tethered hot air balloon.
All that’s missing is Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa House. —Zac Thompson
Because of its remote, mountain-bound location and terrain, the Kingdom of Nepal has always been a somewhat challenging destination to visit for people with limited vacation time. Then, after a 2015 earthquake wiped out key parts of the country's Langtang trekking region and the pandemic paralyzed travel, the bottom fell out of the Nepalese tourism industry.
The government knew it had to start taking more aggressive steps to bolster the nation's health as a destination without allowing crowds to overrun the charm of those world-famous vertiginous villages. So Nepal is embarking on a still-forming 10-year plan that aims to make the country's wonders easier to reach and safer for casual adventurers.
New Chinese-funded international airports, which are controversial locally, have opened at Siddharthanagar and Pokhara, and leaders are reaching out to vacationers across Asia to persuade them to book flights. On the safety front, trekkers on many important trails are now required, as of April 2023, to hike with a local guide—a boon for cultural exchange and local employment.
The main city of Kathmandu, where most tourists first touch down, is adding more things to do, including new tour bus service, a new Skywalk Tower attraction, and even LGBTQ-themed heritage tours and treks for visitors who don't plan to go anywhere near Mount Everest. Perhaps wishfully, the government has set an aggressive goal of increasing tourist spending from $48 to $125 a day within a decade, which would improve employment figures and fund better infrastructure while still offering a bargain for most North American travelers.
Nepal’s rustic simplicity will never be suited to the pressures of a true tourism powerhouse. But if the country can build a more reliable travel industry, this Himalayan kingdom's recovery could shape up to be a reinvention.—Jason Cochran
In 2024, Prince Edward Island is throwing a 150th birthday party for writer Lucy Maud Montgomery, whose beloved Anne of Green Gables has been making readers dream of the island's red roads, green sloping fields, and shining waters ever since the novel was published in 1908.
In honor of the occasion, the Charlottetown Festival is bringing back a musical stage adaptation (previously recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest running annual musical theater production). Among other planned events: In November, Green Gables Heritage Place will throw a birthday bash for Montgomery and debut a new documentary about the complicated author behind Anne and 19 other novels, nearly all of which were set on Prince Edward Island.
But no matter what time of year you visit Canada’s smallest province, you can make your own literary pilgrimage to the modest green-and-white house that inspired Montgomery, have a picnic next to a life-size bronze sculpture of the author and her cat in Montgomery Park, and simply soak up the island's bucolic serenity. —Joni Sweet
A trip to Utqiagvik (uut-kee-AGG-vik) comes with bragging rights. Located more than 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle and accessible only by plane, this remote village (population: 4,500), once known as Barrow, is the northernmost community in the United States—and one of the oldest inhabited ones, too. Thanks to the town's extreme location, if you visit between May 10 and August 2, you’ll experience 24 hours of daylight; from mid-November to late January, on the other hand, there’s no sunshine at all. Show up from the middle of September through late April, and the Northern Lights, polar bears, and caribou are the main attractions.
Human history has touched this remote outpost, too. The Will Rogers-Wiley Post Monument commemorates the 1935 airplane crash that killed humorist Rogers and aviator Post. The Birnirk National Historic Landmark pays tribute to one of the earliest examples of Indigenous culture in North America.
Mostly, though, Utqiagvik is notable for the immense wilderness that surrounds it. The gradual unfreezing of the Arctic adds a layer of urgency to the area’s wildlife-spotting opportunities. Animal residents include snowy owls in autumn and beluga whales in spring and fall. Keep an eye out for walruses on large ice floes.
Don’t leave without taking a photo of the Whale Bone Arch that faces the Chukchi Sea. As of November 2023, you can also shop for handcrafted mementoes at the brand-new Utqiagvik Visitor Center. And if you have an adventurous palate, be sure to try a bowl of reindeer soup from the Top of the World Hotel. No matter when you visit, pack warm clothes—climate change may be melting and softening surfaces here, but even in the summer, temps hover just above freezing.—Sarah Sekula
While it's wise to give Lahaina the space and time it needs to heal and rebuild from the August 2023 wildfires, the resorts of Maui remain open and eager for visitors. In fact, several properties had just completed major improvements when the fires hit other parts of the Valley Isle.
In South Maui, all 413 suites and 37 villas at the 22-acre Fairmont Kea Lani were recently redesigned as part of a 3-year, multimillion-dollar renovation that will also add an interactive cultural center and restaurant (expected to be complete in December 2023). Likewise, the 40-acre Grand Wailea, one of the most famous luxury resorts on the island, is emerging from its most extensive renovation since the hotel's 1991 opening; the makeover involves new dining options, updates to the 776 guest rooms, and a full revamp of the 50,000-square-foot spa. On the west side, the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua launched the island’s newest luau and dinner show, Tales of the Kapa Moe, just a month before the fires.
But you don’t have to stay at a budget-busting luxury resort to help Maui (and, fair warning, you might spend more than usual at any hotel in the short term, given that rates have been driven up by labor shortages and emergency housing demands caused by the disaster). At MauiNuiStrong.info and GoHawaii.com's Malama Hawaii section, you can find ways to donate through hands-on efforts and contributions. Additionally, supporting local small businesses while you're on the island has a huge impact when it comes to offsetting financial losses from the fires; for a good list of local businesses to support, see MauiNuiFirst.com. The food, souvenirs, and experiences you'll find there are likely to be better than any corporate alternatives anyway. —Sarah Sekula