As we look to the future of travel in 2024, the world unfolds with a treasure trove of destinations that promise adventure, relaxation, culture, and the sheer joy of discovery. Each year a few unique locations become hot spots for travelers, and lucky for you we’ve done the research and compiled a list of our predictions for the Coolest Travel Destinations of 2023. Here’s our curated list of must-visit places and recommended experiences that await you.
MATADOR’S TOP 3 PICKS FOR 2024:
1. São Miguel, Azores – “The Green Wonder”
Just off the coast of Northern Portugal, São Miguel, with its geysers, crater lakes, and ocean views, is a microcosm of all the Azores' natural beauty. While in Azores you can explore stunning mountainous landscapes, vast cliff beaches, volcanoes, ancient architecture, and so much more. While exploring São Miguel, make sure to taste some Cozido das Furnas, a local meal cooked by volcanic steam. Other activities include a hike to the Lagoa do Fogo, go dolphin and whale watching, and relax in the natural thermal pools of Furnas. Sao Miguel is an undiscovered gem, and there is good reason we have selected it as our #1 Coolest Travel Destination of 2024.
2. Beppu, Japan – “The Geothermal Marvel”
Touted to be 2024's top trending spot, Beppu is Japan's hot spring capital with the highest volume of hot water in the world after Yellowstone. It's known for its eight 'Hells' or 'Jigoku', which are spectacular thermal springs for viewing rather than bathing. Some highly recommended travel activities include a visit the 'Hells', ordering and eating an onsen egg from a steam-cooked street food stand, and marveling at the traditional bamboo craftsmanship at Beppu Bamboo Crafts. Japan has so much to enjoy in both the summer and winter seasons, making Beppu a top choice for groovy getaways in 2024.
3. Morocco – “The Gateway to Africa”
With two major cities drawing attention, Morocco promises an exotic cultural experience. Visit the “Red City” of Marrakech, named for it’s buildings made of red sand stone, ride camels in the Sahara, and relax in the blue city of Chefchaouen. Morocco offers a blend of historical intrigue and contemporary culture, all set against a backdrop of stunning natural landscapes, from mountain ranges to desert dunes.
OTHER TRENDING DESTINATIONS FOR 2024:
4. Mexico - "The Mosaic of Mesoamerica"
With its pre-Columbian history and vibrant cultural scene, Mexico is a canvas of historical and natural wonders. Find your way to a relaxing white sand beach, or explore the rugged mountain vistas. Mexico's Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and an highly recommended destination for the adventure traveler headed to Mexico. To fill in your time between relaxing and exploring, dive in the cenotes of Yucatán, witness the monarch butterfly migration, or explore the colonial city of Oaxaca while eating street tacos and sipping a margarita.
5. Paris, France - "The Olympic Host"
Paris will add the 2024 Summer Olympics to its long list of spectacles, offering a modern twist to its historical grandeur. Paris was originally a Roman city called 'Lutetia' and it’s the second time it will host the summer Olympics, the first being in 1924. Alongside is rich history and upcoming Olympic Games, other top travel activities include a visit to the Louvre, take a Seine River cruise, or explore the hidden gems of Montmartre. While in France, don’t miss a chance to also visit Strasbourg. As UNESCO's 2024 World Book Capital, this city is not just a bibliophile's dream but also a testament to European history and architecture.
6. Canada - "The Wilderness North"
With landscapes ranging from rugged coastlines to the aurora-lit northern skies, Canada is a haven for nature lovers. All year long Canada offers a plethora of outdoor activities and unique travel experiences to pursue. Paddle among icebergs in Newfoundland, ski in Whistler, and enjoy the cosmopolitan flair of cities like Toronto and Montreal. Canada is also home to the oldest known rocks on Earth, found on the shores of Hudson Bay. Get immersed in the natural history of this world renowned natural environments.
7. Meteora, Greece - "The Sky-High Sanctuaries"
Meteora, with its monasteries perched atop towering rocks, is a marvel of nature and human ingenuity. The name 'Meteora' means 'suspended in the air,' which perfectly describes these Byzantine monasteries. To explore the history and outdoor recreation of the area, join a guided tour of the monasteries, or rock climb beside the monks. And as you wrap up your days exploring, enjoy the sunset over the Thessalian plains.
8. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia - The Spiritual Escape
Ubud is Bali's heart, known for its serene rice terraces and spiritual ambiance. Enjoy time at the beach, surfing, fishing, or other ocean-based activities. Practice yoga in a tranquil setting, visit the Monkey Forest, or take a cooking class to learn Balinese cuisine. Bali has recently been a hot spot for tourists and digital nomads, and we expect it to remain high on the list of most popular destinations.
Travel in 2024 offers a global palette of experiences, from the literary streets of Strasbourg to the geothermal wonders of Beppu. Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in the Olympic spirit, unwind in natural hot springs, or embark on cultural excursions, these destinations provide a backdrop for every traveler's story. Pack your bags and set your sights on these remarkable corners of the world, where adventure and awe await.