Cruise: The one gift passengers are banned from bringing on board this Christmas

Christmas cruise options are on the rise with many operators offering a range of holidays for travellers hoping for a taste of adventure during the festive period. A great alternative way to spend the holidays, cruises are a perfect opportunity for people who hope to mix up traditions. However, passengers may also have to change their traditional gift options too if opting to sail the high seas this December.

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Many cruise lines ban one item from being brought on board ships, which could cause an issue if passengers were hoping to give this as a gift to their family or friends.

Whether it’s a box of craft beers or a bottle of the finest bubbly, alcohol is often a favourite when it comes to gift-giving.

However, many cruise lines ban passengers from bringing their own alcohol on board as part of their policy.

While bringing alcohol on board can be a cost-effective way to save on a bill from beverages at the end of your cruise, it can also run the risk of your alcohol being revoked before you make it onto the ship.

Many cruise lines outline a certain limit of alcohol which can be brought on board if any at all.

One such line is Royal Caribbean who only allows cruisers to bring two bottles of wine on board, and ban beer and spirits, even at Christmas time.

In fact, the cruise line will confiscate any booze it finds at embarkation, which could ruin your present plans.

The cruise line told express.co.uk: “On boarding day, guests may bring onboard two 750 ml bottles of personal wine or champagne per stateroom in their carry-on luggage. Guests on consecutive cruises may bring two 750 ml bottles of personal wine or champagne per voyage, per stateroom.”

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Meanwhile, as part of its policy, the Royal Caribbean website goes on to explain: “Guests are not allowed to bring beer or hard liquor onboard for consumption or any other use.

“Alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day will not be returned. Security may inspect containers (water bottles, soda bottles, mouthwash, luggage etc.) and will dispose of containers holding alcohol. Guests who violate any alcohol policies may be disembarked or not allowed to board, at their own expense, in accordance with our Guest Conduct Policy.”

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If passengers only hope to bring on one or two bottles of wine as part of a gift, it’s good news, however, any more than that can result in an issue.

Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor of Cruise Critic told Express.co.uk: “If you are gifting a nice bottle of a fellow passenger’s favourite tipple, whilst onboard a cruise ship over Christmas, then the good news is that most cruise lines generally allow passengers to carry on at least one 750 ml bottle on embarkation to enjoy whilst onboard.

“Bear in mind, however, that many lines do charge a corkage fee from anywhere between £8 and £25 for the privilege of enjoying your bottle outside your cabin, so it’s worth asking your gift recipient to keep to their cabin if they plan on opening it onboard.”

However, Coulter offered some alternative tips to beating the ban.

“It might just be worth asking your gift recipient to savour their bottle when they get home, as this would be a great way to help them get over the post-cruise blues, following their return back to land and reality,” he said.

“We are sure that most cruise lines would be amenable to the idea of looking after your gifted bottles until your disembarkation day, so we highly recommend contacting your cruise line to ask their advice regarding the giving of alcohol gifts onboard.”

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Planning the Ultimate Wedding in the Caribbean

Making your big day beautiful, memorable and magical is easy at BlueBay Hotels’ Caribbean resorts, where relaxation and refinement converge to create the combined wedding and honeymoon you’ve always dreamed of.

The all-inclusive, upscale brand’s Department of Weddings and Romance is dedicated to helping couples plan their unforgettable ceremony, reception and resort stay at any of BlueBay’s exotic destinations in the Dominican Republic or along the Mexican Caribbean coastline.

As outlined in its newly released 2020 brochures, BlueBay’s wedding packages are available in tiers that accommodate anywhere between two to 50 people and can be made as simple or as elaborate as any couple desires.

Whether you envision your ideal once-on-a-lifetime occasion as a small, intimate ceremony on the sand with close friends and family, or as a grander, destination affair, one of BlueBay’s elegant options can be customized to fit your style.

In general, prices are valid for hotel guests only, with extra person supplements and wedding pass prices applicable for external guests.

All wedding packages also include the ‘You and Me’ Honeymoon package, which provides the couple with a complimentary tropical fruit plate and flower petals in their room upon arrival, a special turndown service on the wedding night, celebratory in-room decorations on the day of the event, champagne breakfast in bed the day after the wedding and late checkout afterward (typically subject to availability).

Packages can potentially include a variety of VIP services, including a personal Wedding Coordinator, private check-in, preferential room locations or accommodations upgrades for the couple, complimentary or discounted spa services and more.

As for the wedding day itself, these stress-free package options provide for either legal or symbolic ceremonies, on the beach and/or a gazebo location, with various décor set-ups, audio equipment, options for floral arrangements and a wedding cake.

You can also opt for such services as ironing and preparation of the bride and groom’s apparel; make-up and hairdo for the bride; beer and mimosas for bridal party pre-ceremony; and bouquets and boutonnieres for the bridal party.

Some options also include rehearsal dinners or a-la-carte dining for a set number of guests; celebratory toasts after the wedding; a post-ceremony cocktail hour, plus or minus hor d’oeuvres; and live music or DJ services during cocktail hours and receptions.

Reception events vary in both duration and the number of guests included, but top-tier options can supply full celebratory dinner receptions, dancing venues and coordinated decorations and centerpieces so that everything is taken care of, worry-free.

Explore your options for a perfect nuptial getaway at any of BlueBay Hotels’ four resorts in the Caribbean: the BlueBay Grand Esmeralda or Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel in Mexico’s breathtaking Riviera Maya and BlueBay Grand Punta Cana or BlueBay Villas Doradas in the Dominican Republic.

While available packages vary by property, couples can visit the resorts’ websites, or call or email a specialist to ask about details, or to request copies of the brand’s newly launched 2020 wedding and honeymoon brochures.

For more information, visit BlueBayResorts.com.

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Antelope Canyon Will No Longer Offer Photo Tours Due to Overcrowding


If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of the whimsical natural formations at Upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona, then you know precisely why this place is a photographer’s paradise. With beautifully carved Navajo sandstone at every turn, the colors and composition draw hordes of photo enthusiasts every year.

After Dec. 20, tripods will no longer be permitted inside Antelope Valley.

Accessible only by guided tour, Upper Antelope Canyon has been a long-standing destination for Arizona visitors eager to capture the epic formations. However, recently Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation made the call to shut down their photo-specific guided tours, effective after Dec. 20, reports PetaPixel.

antelope canyon

Many photographers were repeatedly leaving negative reviews of their experience. The reason? Too many people. While the photo tours are pricier, provide more time in the canyon, and tend to offer smaller group sizes, trying to find a quiet, uncrowded area was becoming an impossible task. Even with guides helping to block people from the frame, PetePixel reports that photographers didn’t think it was worth it to spend $200 for a “nerve-wracking and anxious photography session.”

Antelope Canyon has been a wildly popular travel destination for a very long time, but according to PetaPixel, it’s seen a drastic increase in traffic due to social media. Eager photographer’s itching to snap the flowing lines and dreamy colors of these sandstone anomalies have detracted from the area’s natural beauty.

Don’t get too discouraged: Guided tours will still be available, and visitors can still bring cameras and phones. But the use of tripods or monopods will strictly be prohibited. For serious photographers, this is a major hit. In order to get that composition just right, as well as nailing long exposures or time-lapse photography, a tripod is instrumental.

Of course this isn’t the first time a natural wonder in Arizona has been affected by photography. A few years back, Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River was becoming overcrowded with visitors taking selfies and dangling their feet over the exposed edge of the vista. To meet the demand (and keep visitors safe), a new parking lot, standing platform, and a railing system were constructed.

Head to the Antelope Canyon website for more info about catching one of the last photo tours at this majestic destination.

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A Treehouse Resort With Gorgeous Mountain Views Is Coming to Gatlinburg in 2020

The Smoky Mountains. Treehouses. Gatlinburg. Porches begging for a mystery novel marathon reading session.

Pick just one of this fab quartet and we're happy. Combine all four and we're definitely sneaking in an extra vacation day. Maybe even a long weekend. Slated to open March of 2020, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, will welcome a treehouse resort, dubbed Treehouse Grove at Norton Creek Resort. The collection of eight unique treehouses, managed by Ayres Vacation Rentals, are designed by Pete Nelson— host of the Animal Planet series, Treehouse Masters—with Nelson Treehouse and Supply.

Treehouse Grove at Norton Creek Resort
Treehouse Grove at Norton Creek Resort

"I reached out to Pete and we did a number of site visits. He actually designed all the treehouses, followed our concept, and came up with each individual treehouse. He was involved in concept planning, picking out the trees he wanted to use, and he's building them as well," Norton Creek's owner and developer Joseph Ayres told Knoxville's WVLT 8.

To be kept in the know about when the treehouses are available to rent, join the mailing list here. For now, we're drooling over photos of the works-in-progress on Instagram.

Antsing for another one-of-a-kind Gatlinburg vacation? You may also want to consider glamping by the Great Smoky Mountains on a new 182-acre camp from Under Canvas. Their 2020 season will run from April 2nd through November 30th.

The Smoky Mountains. Porches. Treehouses. Gatlinburg. Glamping. Well, we think we've just stumbled upon the perfect quintet for our next Gatlinburg getaway.

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CrosiEurope to launch Egypt sailings in 2020

CroisiEurope is joining the growing list of river
operators taking to the Nile next year.

The company said it will begin offering an eight-day “Egypt
along the Nile River” itinerary in February aboard the the Steigenberger Royale.

The ship can accommodate up to 106 passengers in its 50
suites and double cabins across three decks. The ship has a pool, hot tub,
library and game room, two lounge/bar areas and a restaurant. 

Prices begin at $2,503 per person. A pre-cruise program in
Cairo is also available, with prices for both beginning at $3,482 per person.

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You won't believe these places are in the USA



Slide 1 of 61: The USA is well loved for its rugged red rocks, dynamic cities and world-famous national parks. But America's backyard is one of the most diverse in the world, and any journey through the US is likely to throw up some fabulous surprises. From sand dunes to glaciers, here are 60 places you won't believe exist in America.
Slide 2 of 61: Though it resembles Chile's Atacama Desert, this stark landscape can actually be found in the USA's notoriously green Pacific Northwest region. The cracked earth, fringed by mountains and punctured by natural springs, is situated in southeastern Oregon, spreading out for 10 miles one way and five miles the other. Get the best views by driving the Steens Loop Tour Route, which cuts through the surrounding Steens Mountains.
Slide 3 of 61: One of the lesser-known national preserves in the States, Craters of the Moon is a stark volcanic landscape of lava fields, caves, craters, and cinder cones, formed over 1,500 years ago. Take a hike in this lava-warped park and you'll also see curious molds and mounds, the remnants of trees once overtaken by molten lava. The 0.1-mile Spatter Cone trail is one of the most popular spots in the park.
Slide 4 of 61: It's hard to believe that this secluded slice of America's backyard exists within the Grand Canyon (the second most-visited national park in the US). But it does. The Havasupai Tribe have lived in the village of Supai since AD 1300 and, in part down to the arduous eight-mile trek it takes to reach it, the area has stayed largely off the tourist radar. Those who commit to the hardy hike will be rewarded with waterfalls plunging towards eye-popping blue pools reminiscent of Turkey's Pamukkale.

Slide 5 of 61: This little town would look more at home in Germany's Bavaria than in northern Georgia, but you'll find it hidden away in the state's Blue Ridge Mountains. The town's half-timbered buildings, dinky shops and mountainous surrounds all add to the feel that you're on the Continent, while beer is very much the drink of choice. Helen's lively Oktoberfest has also been a key event for more than four decades.
Slide 6 of 61: Pillowy sand dunes drop down into the blue waters of Lake Michigan at this national preserve. The site protects a beautiful swathe of lakeshore in the north of Michigan's Lower Peninsula and, save for the lack of palm trees, it looks every inch the tropical paradise – not what you'd expect from the Midwest. Beyond the sandy bluffs, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore also encompasses smaller inland lakes, shady wooded areas and a historic lighthouse that's open for tours.
Slide 7 of 61: The alpine Rawah Wilderness wouldn't look out of place in Switzerland or France, but its 78,000 acres are set within northern Colorado, creeping up to the Wyoming border. Around 76 miles of trails wind through the untrammeled landscape, passing granite peaks patched with snow, thick woodland and as many as 26 lakes. Wildlife-lovers should watch out for deer and elk too.
Slide 8 of 61: For much of the year, Horsetail Fall, which cascades over the eastern side of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, looks like any other waterfall. But, come February, something magical happens. On clear nights, when the sun is setting and the light strikes right, the waterfall takes on a burning orange glow and spills over the mountain face like lava. Various hiking trails wind towards the falls, each one at least a mile in length.
Slide 9 of 61: While Louisiana may be known for its cypress trees and swamplands, this curious botanical garden is full of surprises. The semi-tropical preserve sprawls across 170 acres of the state's little-known Avery Island, and is filled with birdlife and familiar Louisiana critters such as alligators. However, the garden's hot pink camellias, bamboo forests and Japanese-style architecture will have you questioning where in the world you really are.

Slide 10 of 61: Tucked into the cliffs in the Mesa Verde National Park, you’ll find Cliff Palace, the largest such dwelling in North America. Built by the Ancestral Puebloans between about AD 1190 and 1260, today you can take a tour of this magnificent 150-room site. However you’ll need to be relatively fit to do so: the hour-long walk involves a 100-foot (30m) vertical climb, stone stairs and ladders too. 

Incredible ancient ruins in the USA you probably didn't know existed
Slide 11 of 61: This dramatic waterfall in the US could just as easily be in New Zealand – the cascade bears a striking resemblance to the country's famed Humboldt Falls. But these thundering waters have their home in eastern Tennessee in the eponymous Fall Creek Falls State Park. One of the greatest natural wonders in the country's east, the falls rush over tree-topped rock, crashing 256 feet (80m) into the lake below. There are more than 200 campsites here too, so you've no need to rush your adventures. 

Amazing images of the world's most stunning waterfalls
Slide 12 of 61: These Mars-like landscapes exist in the remote Summit District of Hawaii's Haleakalā National Park. Here, the namesake Haleakalā, a gargantuan shield volcano, reaches 10,023 feet (254.5m), and brave hikers come to spot native flora and fauna and experience some of the best stargazing in the state. Elsewhere in the park, the Kīpahulu District complements the Summit with its waterfalls, greenery and rugged coastline.
Slide 13 of 61: A quick glance and you might think this photograph was captured in France's Provence region – but, in fact, the Sequim-Dungeness Valley is in Washington state, north of Olympic National Park. The town of Sequim is aptly labeled the Lavender Capital of North America, and neat rows of purple characterize the surrounding valley's many lavender farms. July brings with it the annual Sequim Lavender Weekend, so time your trip right for farm tours and street fairs.
Slide 14 of 61: One of the premier agricultural regions in this part of the US, the Palouse area is all rolling hills and color-splashed meadows. It could easily be compared to Italy's Tuscany region too: it bears the same wave-like landscapes, blonde wheat fields and epic sunsets. Driving the Palouse Scenic Byway is a great way to discover the Washington portion of the region.

Slide 15 of 61: The perfect subject for keen photographers, Bonsai Rock is an eye-catching crag on the Nevada portion of Lake Tahoe. Four little trees sprout from the hulking rock and it's reached by a brief but steep hike towards the waters. Come at sunrise or sunset for spectacular shots, and remain after dark to see the clear skies filled with stars.
Slide 16 of 61: It's hard to believe that these curious rock-scapes exist on this planet, let alone in the USA. Stretching over 244,000 acres, Badlands National Park is a world of peaks and prairie, where bighorn sheep and bison roam free, and hiking trails show off the best of the landscape. Popular routes include the Door Trail, a straightforward boardwalk loop that offers fantastic views of the badlands.
Slide 17 of 61: This glittering residence was inspired by the palazzos of Venice and was built in the Venetian-Gothic style during the Roaring Twenties. It was the home of notorious circus master John Ringling and his family, and the eccentric character lived here right up until his death in 1936. Since then, the home has been donated to the state of Florida and has undergone extensive renovations. Today visitors can enjoy tours of the ornate space, peering into private bedrooms and sumptuous communal areas, and drinking in the tile-embellished terra cotta façade too. 
Slide 18 of 61: It takes a little extra effort to get to this remote Big Sur beach, but it’s well worth it for the head-turning offshore rock formations and the unbelievable sunsets you'll be greeted with. Most unique of all are the beach's areas of purple sand, whose surprising color is caused by the presence of the mineral garnet. Arrive here as the sun is sinking, and don't forget your camera.
Slide 19 of 61: This 275-square-mile desert in New Mexico's Tularosa Basin hardly looks as if it belongs on Earth, let alone in the USA. The dunes are made of gypsum sand, a rare mineral found in few places on the planet. Since gypsum sand (unlike regular sand) dissolves in water, it's a miracle to find it in such vast quantities – but this swathe of New Mexico has a climate dry enough to allow the grains to thrive. A ranger-led stroll at sunset is one of best ways to take in this most unique of landscapes.
Slide 20 of 61: Glowing a cool blue, these stark ice caves could have been plucked straight from Scandinavia. Instead you'll find them some 12 miles from Alaska's capital, Juneau, carved into the 12-mile Mendenhall Glacier. To reach them is no easy feat as you'll need to hike across a vast ice field often scrambling over slippery rock faces on your approach. The ethereal caves are worth the effort though and as the glacier is sadly receding at a rapid pace, it is best to make the trip sooner rather than later.

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Slide 21 of 61: It's hard to believe this towering waterfall is just a 30-minute jaunt from Portland. Crashing over more than 600 feet (182m) of craggy bluffs, the two-tiered Multnomah Falls collect in a deep blue pool at the base. The best view over the falls is from Benson Bridge, built in 1914, and refurbished after a damaging fire – suspended 70 feet (21m) in the air, you'll be close enough to feel the spray. 
Slide 22 of 61: It's not hard to see why this charming Michigan town is called Holland. Hundreds of Dutch immigrants settled here in the hope of making their fortune in the mid-1800s, and this heritage makes itself immediately known: expect windmills, striped tulip fields, Dutch-style architecture and a traditional clog factory where you can see shoemakers at work. With spring comes the Tulip Time Festival, when more than five million flowers carpet the town.

These American destinations feel like you're in another country
Slide 23 of 61: While Hawaii has no shortage of glorious white-powder beaches, the green sands of Papakōlea are a wonder indeed. The only beach of its kind in the States (and one of only four on the entire planet), its green hue is the result of the mineral olivine, deposited by volcanic eruptions over millennia. The secluded beach can be found on Hawaii's Big Island, and can be reached on a challenging, two-mile, downward-reaching hike.
Slide 24 of 61: These otherworldly caverns, the most extensive in the eastern United States, open out below the Shenandoah Valley's Blue Ridge Mountains. The sand-colored stalagmites and stalactites have sprouted over millions of years, and winding tunnels give way to echoing chambers. Most fascinating of all is Dream Lake: its 20 inches of water look much deeper due the reflections on its glittering surface. There's also an organ that uses the rock formations to make sweet music.

The world's most fascinating caves and caverns
Slide 25 of 61: The steamy rainforests of South and Central America are the world's most famous, but this lush swathe of trees in the Pacific Northwest gives them a run for their money. The forest sees up to 170 inches of rain each year, and the verdant canopy of Sitka spruces protects such species as Roosevelt elks and Pacific tree frogs. The rainforest is best visited in the dryer summer season.
Slide 26 of 61: As the name might suggest, this park's winning feature is its dramatic rock formations. Starved Rock State Park is home to a total of 18 canyons, with waterfalls forming during springtime and after heavy rain. Its web of trails reaches across 13 miles and takes hikers past rocky gorges, wildflower-filled meadows and, in the winter, ice sculptures formed from frozen watery cascades. 

The most beautiful state park in every US state
Slide 27 of 61: The California coast is synonymous with golden-sand beaches, but this one is a more surprising find. Glass Beach, found in MacKerricher State Park, three miles north of Fort Bragg, is exactly as it sounds: a unique strand made from dumped glass and other trash being smoothed and rounded by the ocean, and eventually building up on the shore. Delight in wandering the beach, spotting glass stones in rare shapes and colors, but remember to leave this wonder exactly as you found it.
Slide 28 of 61: Almost a carbon copy of Bolivia's famed Salar de Uyuni, Bonneville Salt Flats in northwest Utah stretch for more than 30,000 acres. This was the original site of ancient Lake Bonneville: when the vast lake dried up, all that was left were salty deposits and a sprawling, flat plain. During the winter, a shallow pool of water sits upon the plain's surface acting as a giant mirror. The flats can be explored by car, but ensure you stick to the designated spots.
Slide 29 of 61: This railway route touts itself as the most scenic in the world, and it's not hard to see why. The snow-dusted mountains, pink and yellow wildflowers and rambling hills appear almost Alpine. The railroad, whose construction began in 1898, instead rattles through Alaska towards Canada, leaving from the little city of Skagway. The White Pass Summit Excursion is the most traditional of routes, a 40-mile jaunt taking in the teetering peak of its namesake mountain pass. 

Discover more bucket-list adventures in Alaska
Slide 30 of 61: Nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven for good reason, this dizzying staircase lines Oahu's green Ko'olau mountains, and was built back in 1942 by the US Navy. Sadly, due to safety concerns, there are calls for the stairs to be demolished. The stairs, almost 4,000 of them, have been closed to the public for several years now and you'll face a hefty fine if you attempt to trespass on them. However, the (legal) Kulana'ahane trail, a challenging forested hike, offers decent views of the stairway while it remains. 
Slide 31 of 61: A castle such as this one could easily be found in Italy's wine regions but it has pride of place in California's Napa Valley instead. Influenced by the medieval fortresses of Tuscany, Castello di Amorosa makes Italian-style wine to match and has won plenty of awards for its offerings. Take a guided tour of the property and its vineyards, before sampling the winery's varietals for yourself. 

Don't miss our area-by-area guide to California's wine regions
Slide 32 of 61: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore boasts all manner of natural wonders, from craggy rock formations and wind-battered cliffs to sandy strands – but none are more intriguing than the ice caves that form here each winter. The caves are accessible from a trail beginning at the Meyers Beach parking area and winding downwards (you'll walk up to six miles in total depending on how many of the caves you take in). Their opening times are entirely dependent on conditions – check the NPS website if you're planning a visit. 
Slide 33 of 61: Reminiscent of China's Rainbow Mountains, this landscape is part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Streaked with yellow, amber and rust red, the ethereal hills got their color more than 30 million years ago, primarily from red ash left over by volcanic activity. They're crisscrossed with five hiking trails: opt for the Carroll Rim Trail for sweeping panoramas, or the Leaf Hill Trail for a deep dive into the history and palaeontology of the area.
Slide 34 of 61: You wouldn't expect to find this German-style village nestled at the foot of the Cascades Mountains, but downtown Leavenworth is a picture of Bavaria. Take in the Bavarian-style architecture, visit the colorful and quirky Nutcracker Museum, before a hike in the mountains. Visit in October to experience Leavenworth's beer-soaked take on Oktoberfest. 

Discover 35 of Germany's most beautiful towns and villages
Slide 35 of 61: You'll find this distinctive stretch of shoreline in the northern part of Schooner Gulch State Beach. It appears as though hundreds of bowling balls have been rolled out to sea and become wedged in the sand. The phenomena is in fact caused by decades of erosion and "concretion", where sediment clumps together to form larger rock formations, in this case neat sandstone spheres. Time your visit for low tide for the best view.
Slide 36 of 61: At a quick glance, this bay, with its blue waters and sea stacks, could be in Southeast Asia – instead it's actually the chillier waters of Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park. The product of millennia of erosion, these sea stacks can be found peppered across the park, from Aialik Bay to the craggy Chiswell Islands. They're home to seabirds such as cormorants and puffins, plus the park's resident bats. The best way to take them in is from a kayak on the water.
Slide 37 of 61: The gorge in this state park is so picturesque it could have been carved by hand. Some 19 waterfalls exist in the Finger Lakes region, formed as a stream beats its way through the narrow, moss-covered glen. Trails hem each side of the gorge, following the water's path – opt for the Gorge Trail, a 2.5-mile loop that takes in the 50-foot (15.2m) Cavern Cascade, the most impressive of all the falls.

Unspoiled American destinations to escape the modern world
Slide 38 of 61: An alien landscape in northern New Mexico, Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness is formed of bizarre hoodoos and teetering, mushrooming rock towers. The pale clay formations have been carved out by water and wind over many thousands of years, and numerous fossils have been found in the area, including ancient dinosaur remains. There are no trails here and it's challenging terrain, so best reserved for the most seasoned of hikers. Be sure to check conditions before you go.
Slide 39 of 61: These undulating ice terraces look as though they belong in the Arctic. They're actually man-made, the vision of Utah-based architect Brent Christensen, who erects these icy towers in the city of Midway come winter. Each of the dazzling castles, with its hand-shaped turrets and tunnels, weigh around 25,000,000 lbs, and draw visitors from all over Utah and beyond.

Stunning images of the world's amazing ice and snow festivals
Slide 40 of 61: The rugged red and green rocks of Hawaii's Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park look more suited to Mars than Earth. 'Na Pali' means "high cliffs", and the tallest mountains here soar to 4,000 feet (1,200m). The best way to take in the prismatic peaks is from the Kalalau Trail, a hardy, 11-mile route that rewards its hikers with a sandy beach at the end. The trail has recently reopened (due to damage caused by flooding) and online reservations are required in advance.
Slide 41 of 61: The aurora borealis are elusive wherever you go but, save from Alaska, the USA might not be the first place you think of catching them. Enter Voyageurs, one of the States' most underrated national parks, and prime Northern Lights spotting territory. If you're lucky enough to catch a display here, you'll feel as if you're beyond the Arctic Circle, but in fact you'll be in the northern reaches of Minnesota. By day, take advantage of the many hiking trails lacing the forested park.
Slide 42 of 61: Dominating this state park in southeastern Washington, Palouse Falls drop for about 200 feet (61m), puncturing the course of the Palouse River. The cascade itself, formed by floods during the Ice Age, steals the show, but visitors will also be in awe of the park's neatly circular pool and rugged canyon walls. A trio of scenic viewpoints offer fabulous vistas of the falls.
Slide 43 of 61: Wild horses roam Cumberland Island, the biggest of Georgia's barrier isles, at 18 miles long. It has windswept dunes and petrified trees, and a sprawling, unspoiled coast. Home to endangered loggerhead sea turtles – its tranquillity is such that you'll feel far further away than seven miles off Georgia's mainland. A ferry leaves the city of St Mary's from March through to November, and the island offers hiking, biking and swimming opportunities, plus dark skies perfect for stargazing.

America's best spots for stargazing
Slide 44 of 61: Thor's Well is an apt name for this watery spectacle off the coast of Oregon. The frothing sinkhole in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area plunges to around 20 feet (6m) and is often dubbed the "drainpipe of the Pacific". It's thought that it was once a sea cave, before the roof collapsed and the bubbling well was formed. Take photos from the shore, but remember not to get too close: especially at high tide, the phenomena can be as dangerous as it is beautiful.
Slide 45 of 61: Texas' Caddo Lake could be straight from a fairy tale, its elegant cypress trees reflected in the water's ripple-less skin. The Span­ish moss draped across the branches make the waterways all the more ethereal. Take to the lake's 26,810-acre expanse, and paddle between the moss-cloaked trees, before jumping back on land to explore the depths of the forestland on foot. Overnight at one of the historic cabins perched on the lakeside.
Slide 46 of 61: Also known as Kaihalulu Beach, this rust-colored strand on Maui is gloriously secluded, its sand contrasting with the bright blue waters lapping at the shore. The ruddy hue is the result of the ever-eroding volcano that backs the crescent. The beach can be reached via a steep, narrow trail (note that many consider the trail dangerous, hence the beach's relative seclusion), and there are no facilities, so come prepared.
Slide 47 of 61: A large windmill and Danish-style architecture characterizes this pocket-sized city in California, often called "Little Denmark". Time your visit for Danish Days, a lively festival celebrating the city's heritage (Solvang was founded by Danish settlers in 1911). The celebrations include traditional dance, music and food and have been an annual occurrence since 1936. If you don't make the festival, get to grips with the city through its many wineries instead.
Slide 48 of 61: The Hubbard Glacier is one of Alaska's most impressive. It's situated in the eastern part of the state, off the coast of Yakutat, and is a gargantuan six miles-plus wide and 400-feet (122m) tall at its highest point. The blue-hued beast is well-known for being "active", slowly advancing through the gulf, rather than retreating like many other of the world's glaciers. The Hubbard is an itinerary highlight on many Alaskan cruises.
Slide 49 of 61: These fiery falls would be a jaw-dropping sight wherever in the world you found them. They're actually located in Chestnut Ridge Park and an "eternal flame" flickers mysteriously beneath the rushing water. The fire is rumored to have been lit many thousands of years ago by Native Americans, and a little grotto below the waterfall emits natural gases that keep the flame alight. Visitors can reach it via a moderate hiking trail a little over a mile long.
Slide 50 of 61: The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, with its coves and colorful cliff faces, is among the most beautiful spots in the Midwest. The secluded sea grottos wouldn't look out of place along the Mediterranean, but they've been hollowed out by Lake Superior. The vibrant Pictured Rocks rise some 200 feet (60m) above the lake, colored red, orange, blue and green by the minerals that have seeped into their surface.
Slide 51 of 61: A vast body of saltwater in California's Eastern Sierra, Mono Lake is around 70 square miles in total. Aside from the clouds reflected in its glossy expanse, the water is characterized by the so-called "tufa towers", craggy limestone stacks that rise from the lake's surface. Various expert-led tours of the area offer an insight into the local wildlife, and a guided canoe or kayak trip allows you to see the lake's rock formations up close. You can also explore the region independently.
Slide 52 of 61: Wet and wild, Tongass National Forest is like nowhere else in the States. It's the largest area of national forestland in the USA, spreading across 500 miles in total, and is home to such wildlife as black and brown bears and killer whales. Of course, you'll only be able to explore a fraction so begin with the Misty Fiords National Monument, a vast wilderness area of lakes, mountains and forestland, best discovered by kayaking or flightseeing.
Slide 53 of 61: This curious national park in northeastern Arizona is best known for its colorful petrified trees and its intricate rock formations. The park is a great spot for hiking: opt for the Giant Logs Loop, a half-mile wander that takes in the many fallen, fossilized trees, their rainbow cores glinting in the sunlight. The Rainbow Forest Museum in the south of the park is also a great place to learn about the site's history and geology.
Slide 54 of 61: This striking black beach on Hawaii's Big Island appears as though plucked from another planet, its inky sands contrasting with bright green coconut palms and the Pacific Ocean. The fine basalt sand is formed from volcanic activity, and you may even spot Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu) sunbathing on the strand. Due to choppy waters, the beach is not the best spot for a swim, but the incredible views will keep you on the shore.
Slide 55 of 61: The neat rows of tulips lining the fields of Skagit Valley are a near mirror image of those in the Netherlands. The area's annual flower festival begins each April, and sees this northwestern pocket of Washington awash with hundreds of bright tulips in sunset colors. Photo contests, bike tours and barbecues add to the fun.
Slide 56 of 61: The USA is not known for its fortresses, but this European-inspired castle in New York's Alexandria Bay delivers. It was built in the early 1900s for millionaire George C. Boldt and his beloved wife, who passed during its construction, leading Boldt to abandon his extravagant project. With its Italian-style gardens and whimsical turrets, it rivals the many castles on the Continent for sheer fairy-tale factor. The castle can be reached by boat, and is open throughout the summer and fall. 

Fairy-tale castles you never knew existed in the USA
Slide 57 of 61: Most visitors to America are au fait with ghost towns, but ghost beaches are another matter. Once a thriving resort area modeled on the French Riviera, Bombay Beach was all but destroyed by the ever-increasing salt levels of the Salton Sea, which killed off its marine life and frightened away tourists. Today some residents remain in the surrounding area, with the beach otherwise attracting photographers and film crews with its apocalyptic expanse.

Discover the eeriest ghost towns in America
Slide 58 of 61: Twenty-foot-tall trees sprout from this unusual rock formation in Port Austin. Thought to resemble a turnip due to its squat shape and the generous greenery on its surface, the rock has been formed by the wear and tear of the waves over millennia. You can rent kayaks from the mainland and paddle out to see the structure (since much of its surrounding land is private, it's not possible to see it from the shore). The round trip is seven miles, so best suits those with some kayaking experience.

Read more: America's most stunning lakes
Slide 59 of 61: The kaleidoscopic Fly Geyser in Black Rock Desert is a unique sight indeed – but this rainbow wonder was actually formed by human error. In the 1960s, a geothermal energy company drilled on the site, in the hope of striking a usable power source. The water they hit was not warm enough for their purposes, but they failed to properly seal the opening they'd made. Today the geyser still spews searing water and steam, and the brilliant colors are formed by the algae it's covered in. 

Jaw-dropping photos of America from above
Slide 60 of 61: You'd be forgiven for thinking these vast, golden dunes were in the Sahara Desert but they're actually in Colorado, in the aptly named Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The loftiest dunes in North America, the sand mountains are framed by blue skies and flanked by snow-capped peaks – they're best explored on a sled or a sand board, or after dark when the inky sky above is flecked with stars.

Secret wonders hidden in the world's largest deserts
Slide 61 of 61: This natural swimming hole wouldn't look out of place in the Mediterranean – in fact it's just over 20 miles west of Austin. A 50-foot (15m) waterfall feeds the green pool, which was once entirely underground, before the sheltering limestone roof above it collapsed. The pool is now a popular spot for a dip in the summer months – you'll need a reservation to access it.

Surprising sights in the States

Alvord Desert, Oregon

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho

Supai, Arizona

It’s hard to believe that this secluded slice of America’s backyard exists within the Grand Canyon (the second most-visited national park in the US). But it does. The Havasupai Tribe have lived in the village of Supai since AD 1300 and, in part down to the arduous eight-mile trek it takes to reach it, the area has stayed largely off the tourist radar. Those who commit to the hardy hike will be rewarded with waterfalls plunging towards eye-popping blue pools reminiscent of Turkey’s Pamukkale.

Helen, Georgia

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Rawah Wilderness, Colorado

Firefall, Horsetail Fall, California

Jungle Gardens, Avery Island, Louisiana

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Tucked into the cliffs in the Mesa Verde National Park, you’ll find Cliff Palace, the largest such dwelling in North America. Built by the Ancestral Puebloans between about AD 1190 and 1260, today you can take a tour of this magnificent 150-room site. However you’ll need to be relatively fit to do so: the hour-long walk involves a 100-foot (30m) vertical climb, stone stairs and ladders too. 

Incredible ancient ruins in the USA you probably didn’t know existed

Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee

This dramatic waterfall in the US could just as easily be in New Zealand – the cascade bears a striking resemblance to the country’s famed Humboldt Falls. But these thundering waters have their home in eastern Tennessee in the eponymous Fall Creek Falls State Park. One of the greatest natural wonders in the country’s east, the falls rush over tree-topped rock, crashing 256 feet (80m) into the lake below. There are more than 200 campsites here too, so you’ve no need to rush your adventures. 

Amazing images of the world’s most stunning waterfalls

Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii

Sequim-Dungeness Valley, Washington

The Palouse, Idaho/Washington

Bonsai Rock, Nevada

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Cà d’Zan, Sarasota, Florida

This glittering residence was inspired by the palazzos of Venice and was built in the Venetian-Gothic style during the Roaring Twenties. It was the home of notorious circus master John Ringling and his family, and the eccentric character lived here right up until his death in 1936. Since then, the home has been donated to the state of Florida and has undergone extensive renovations. Today visitors can enjoy tours of the ornate space, peering into private bedrooms and sumptuous communal areas, and drinking in the tile-embellished terra cotta façade too. 

Pfeiffer Beach, California

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska

Glowing a cool blue, these stark ice caves could have been plucked straight from Scandinavia. Instead you’ll find them some 12 miles from Alaska’s capital, Juneau, carved into the 12-mile Mendenhall Glacier. To reach them is no easy feat as you’ll need to hike across a vast ice field often scrambling over slippery rock faces on your approach. The ethereal caves are worth the effort though and as the glacier is sadly receding at a rapid pace, it is best to make the trip sooner rather than later.

Discover more places under threat from climate change

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

It’s hard to believe this towering waterfall is just a 30-minute jaunt from Portland. Crashing over more than 600 feet (182m) of craggy bluffs, the two-tiered Multnomah Falls collect in a deep blue pool at the base. The best view over the falls is from Benson Bridge, built in 1914, and refurbished after a damaging fire – suspended 70 feet (21m) in the air, you’ll be close enough to feel the spray. 

Holland, Michigan

It’s not hard to see why this charming Michigan town is called Holland. Hundreds of Dutch immigrants settled here in the hope of making their fortune in the mid-1800s, and this heritage makes itself immediately known: expect windmills, striped tulip fields, Dutch-style architecture and a traditional clog factory where you can see shoemakers at work. With spring comes the Tulip Time Festival, when more than five million flowers carpet the town.

These American destinations feel like you’re in another country

Papakōlea Green Sand Beach, Hawaii

Luray Caverns, Virginia

These otherworldly caverns, the most extensive in the eastern United States, open out below the Shenandoah Valley’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The sand-colored stalagmites and stalactites have sprouted over millions of years, and winding tunnels give way to echoing chambers. Most fascinating of all is Dream Lake: its 20 inches of water look much deeper due the reflections on its glittering surface. There’s also an organ that uses the rock formations to make sweet music.

The world’s most fascinating caves and caverns

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, Washington

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

As the name might suggest, this park’s winning feature is its dramatic rock formations. Starved Rock State Park is home to a total of 18 canyons, with waterfalls forming during springtime and after heavy rain. Its web of trails reaches across 13 miles and takes hikers past rocky gorges, wildflower-filled meadows and, in the winter, ice sculptures formed from frozen watery cascades. 

The most beautiful state park in every US state

Glass Beach, California

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, Skagway, Alaska

This railway route touts itself as the most scenic in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The snow-dusted mountains, pink and yellow wildflowers and rambling hills appear almost Alpine. The railroad, whose construction began in 1898, instead rattles through Alaska towards Canada, leaving from the little city of Skagway. The White Pass Summit Excursion is the most traditional of routes, a 40-mile jaunt taking in the teetering peak of its namesake mountain pass. 

Discover more bucket-list adventures in Alaska

Haiku Stairs, Hawaii

Nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven for good reason, this dizzying staircase lines Oahu’s green Ko’olau mountains, and was built back in 1942 by the US Navy. Sadly, due to safety concerns, there are calls for the stairs to be demolished. The stairs, almost 4,000 of them, have been closed to the public for several years now and you’ll face a hefty fine if you attempt to trespass on them. However, the (legal) Kulana’ahane trail, a challenging forested hike, offers decent views of the stairway while it remains. 

Castello di Amorosa, California

A castle such as this one could easily be found in Italy’s wine regions but it has pride of place in California’s Napa Valley instead. Influenced by the medieval fortresses of Tuscany, Castello di Amorosa makes Italian-style wine to match and has won plenty of awards for its offerings. Take a guided tour of the property and its vineyards, before sampling the winery’s varietals for yourself. 

Don’t miss our area-by-area guide to California’s wine regions

Ice Caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore boasts all manner of natural wonders, from craggy rock formations and wind-battered cliffs to sandy strands – but none are more intriguing than the ice caves that form here each winter. The caves are accessible from a trail beginning at the Meyers Beach parking area and winding downwards (you’ll walk up to six miles in total depending on how many of the caves you take in). Their opening times are entirely dependent on conditions – check the NPS website if you’re planning a visit. 

Painted Hills, Oregon

Leavenworth, Washington

You wouldn’t expect to find this German-style village nestled at the foot of the Cascades Mountains, but downtown Leavenworth is a picture of Bavaria. Take in the Bavarian-style architecture, visit the colorful and quirky Nutcracker Museum, before a hike in the mountains. Visit in October to experience Leavenworth’s beer-soaked take on Oktoberfest. 

Discover 35 of Germany’s most beautiful towns and villages

Bowling Ball Beach, California

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Watkins Glen State Park, New York

The gorge in this state park is so picturesque it could have been carved by hand. Some 19 waterfalls exist in the Finger Lakes region, formed as a stream beats its way through the narrow, moss-covered glen. Trails hem each side of the gorge, following the water’s path – opt for the Gorge Trail, a 2.5-mile loop that takes in the 50-foot (15.2m) Cavern Cascade, the most impressive of all the falls.

Unspoiled American destinations to escape the modern world

Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness, New Mexico

Midway Ice Castles, Utah

These undulating ice terraces look as though they belong in the Arctic. They’re actually man-made, the vision of Utah-based architect Brent Christensen, who erects these icy towers in the city of Midway come winter. Each of the dazzling castles, with its hand-shaped turrets and tunnels, weigh around 25,000,000 lbs, and draw visitors from all over Utah and beyond.

Stunning images of the world’s amazing ice and snow festivals

Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park, Hawaii

The rugged red and green rocks of Hawaii’s Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park look more suited to Mars than Earth. ‘Na Pali’ means “high cliffs”, and the tallest mountains here soar to 4,000 feet (1,200m). The best way to take in the prismatic peaks is from the Kalalau Trail, a hardy, 11-mile route that rewards its hikers with a sandy beach at the end. The trail has recently reopened (due to damage caused by flooding) and online reservations are required in advance.

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Palouse Falls State Park, Washington

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Wild horses roam Cumberland Island, the biggest of Georgia’s barrier isles, at 18 miles long. It has windswept dunes and petrified trees, and a sprawling, unspoiled coast. Home to endangered loggerhead sea turtles – its tranquillity is such that you’ll feel far further away than seven miles off Georgia’s mainland. A ferry leaves the city of St Mary’s from March through to November, and the island offers hiking, biking and swimming opportunities, plus dark skies perfect for stargazing.

America’s best spots for stargazing

Thor’s Well, Oregon

Caddo Lake, Texas

Texas’ Caddo Lake could be straight from a fairy tale, its elegant cypress trees reflected in the water’s ripple-less skin. The Span­ish moss draped across the branches make the waterways all the more ethereal. Take to the lake’s 26,810-acre expanse, and paddle between the moss-cloaked trees, before jumping back on land to explore the depths of the forestland on foot. Overnight at one of the historic cabins perched on the lakeside.

Red Sand Beach, Hawaii

Solvang, California

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Eternal Flame Falls, New York

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Mono Lake, California

Misty Fiords National Monument, Tongass National Forest, Alaska

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii

Skagit Valley tulip fields, Washington

Boldt Castle, New York

The USA is not known for its fortresses, but this European-inspired castle in New York’s Alexandria Bay delivers. It was built in the early 1900s for millionaire George C. Boldt and his beloved wife, who passed during its construction, leading Boldt to abandon his extravagant project. With its Italian-style gardens and whimsical turrets, it rivals the many castles on the Continent for sheer fairy-tale factor. The castle can be reached by boat, and is open throughout the summer and fall. 

Fairy-tale castles you never knew existed in the USA

Bombay Beach, California

Most visitors to America are au fait with ghost towns, but ghost beaches are another matter. Once a thriving resort area modeled on the French Riviera, Bombay Beach was all but destroyed by the ever-increasing salt levels of the Salton Sea, which killed off its marine life and frightened away tourists. Today some residents remain in the surrounding area, with the beach otherwise attracting photographers and film crews with its apocalyptic expanse.

Discover the eeriest ghost towns in America

Turnip Rock, Michigan

Twenty-foot-tall trees sprout from this unusual rock formation in Port Austin. Thought to resemble a turnip due to its squat shape and the generous greenery on its surface, the rock has been formed by the wear and tear of the waves over millennia. You can rent kayaks from the mainland and paddle out to see the structure (since much of its surrounding land is private, it’s not possible to see it from the shore). The round trip is seven miles, so best suits those with some kayaking experience.

Read more: America’s most stunning lakes

Fly Geyser, Nevada

The kaleidoscopic Fly Geyser in Black Rock Desert is a unique sight indeed – but this rainbow wonder was actually formed by human error. In the 1960s, a geothermal energy company drilled on the site, in the hope of striking a usable power source. The water they hit was not warm enough for their purposes, but they failed to properly seal the opening they’d made. Today the geyser still spews searing water and steam, and the brilliant colors are formed by the algae it’s covered in. 

Jaw-dropping photos of America from above

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado

You’d be forgiven for thinking these vast, golden dunes were in the Sahara Desert but they’re actually in Colorado, in the aptly named Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The loftiest dunes in North America, the sand mountains are framed by blue skies and flanked by snow-capped peaks – they’re best explored on a sled or a sand board, or after dark when the inky sky above is flecked with stars.

Secret wonders hidden in the world’s largest deserts

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas

This natural swimming hole wouldn’t look out of place in the Mediterranean – in fact it’s just over 20 miles west of Austin. A 50-foot (15m) waterfall feeds the green pool, which was once entirely underground, before the sheltering limestone roof above it collapsed. The pool is now a popular spot for a dip in the summer months – you’ll need a reservation to access it.

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2020 Travel Hot Spots You Won't Want to Miss



Slide 1 of 13: With a rapidly changing climate, travelers have considered the effects of where they’re going next year and why. Tomorrow’s adventurer wants to slow down and reflect on how to make a difference, so it’s no wonder why the travel trends of 2020 deal with visiting communities built around sustainability, train travel and diverse cultures. Read on to find out which city you should visit in the coming year.
Slide 2 of 13: Global travelers are amped to explore Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2020, a robust medina in northern Africa. The walled-in city is a blast of aromatic spices, flashes of multicolored textiles, and blended sounds of musicians playing Moroccan instruments. Local souks (or markets) are a huge draw for their specialized bargains on rugs, fruits, oils, antiques, and more. Situated in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the city offers seemingly secret places of beauty found in even slim side streets and alleys.
Slide 3 of 13: As the conscious traveler becomes more aware of their social and environmental impact, places like Auroville, India, beckon to those curious about alternative living styles. Sometimes mistaken for an ashram, Auroville is a non-religious community dedicated to diversity, sustainability, and harmony. Made up of citizens from dozens of nations, Auroville is known for its central gold-plated dome meant for completely silent meditation. (Absolutely no noise or photography is allowed inside.)
Slide 4 of 13: After more than two years of hurricane recovery, Puerto Rico is teeming with life and laughter. A year to be marked by celebration, 2020 events such as the San Sebastian Street Festival, happening in January, prove that the spirit of the city is thriving. Iconic landmarks, including colorful Old San Juan and El Castillo San Felipe del Morro (aka El Morro), a historical site with seaside landscaping favorited for kite flying, are still popular with locals and visitors from all around the world.

Slide 5 of 13: Continuously ranked as one of the world’s friendliest cities, Vancouver is at the top of “to-go lists” for travelers in 2020. Though it’s the largest city in Canada, Vancouver has maintained a balanced relationship with its natural elements, exemplified best by sister bridges, Lions Gate Bridge, a beautifully designed suspension bridge accessible to vehicles, and the rainforest-surrounded Capilano Suspension Bridge, located just a few miles away.
Slide 6 of 13: The blossoming city of Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, has been steadily attracting more tourism, with 2020 looking to be a monumental year. Once it opens next year, Jeddah Tower, a soon-to-be-finished, 1 km high (more than 3,200 feet) skyscraper, will be the centerpiece of the new, modern part of the city. With crystal-clear views of the Red Sea, cyclists and pedestrians are able to relax and take in peaceful scenery from the lengthy Jeddah City coastline.
Slide 7 of 13: A certified carbon-neutral city, Melbourne, Australia, is a place where visitors can enjoy an urban European feel among lush parks and gardens. Among the rankings of most livable places on earth, Melbourne is a pedestrian-friendly city that also offers a large network of inner-city trams, a plus for travelers concerned about their own carbon footprint while away from home. Visitors find the city center convenient and kooky. It contains an array of unique street art and attractions such as the Eureka Skydeck and wildlife-filled Royal Botanic Gardens within walking distance from each other.
Slide 8 of 13: Long regarded as a hot spot, Atlanta, Georgia, never stops building onto itself. Tyler Perry Studios, the massive film production operation built on 330 acres of land, will open its doors for public tours in 2020, adding a new and exciting dynamic to a city that keeps expanding. In recent years, the city has added other grand features, including the ever-evolving scenic Beltline trail, and Suntrust Park, containing the Atlanta Braves Stadium, which feels like an entire town in itself.
Slide 9 of 13: With great weather, top-notch seafood, and diverse neighborhoods, it’s easy to see why Cape Town, South Africa, is a global favorite travel destination. Next year, travelers are especially excited to experience the hiking trifecta of Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, and Table Mountain, also known as the Three Peaks. Easygoing vacationers may choose to take a cable car to the summit of Table Mountain for the sweeping views over the entire town, even overlooking Robben Island, the isle where Nelson Mandela spent part of his 27-year prison stay.

Slide 10 of 13: One of the leading travel trends of next year is slow motion travel, with an emphasis on luxury train experiences. Moscow, Russia, is the hub to some of the most spectacular trains, including the Golden Eagle train that ventures through the awe-inspiring Trans-Siberian route. Though largely inclusive of food, drinks, and gratuities, luxury train tours cost a pretty penny. Budget-savvy travelers may want to instead ride the Paris-Moscow Express, a well-known sleeper train that won’t break the bank.
Slide 11 of 13: The United Kingdom has a reputation for cloudy weather, but that works just fine for Hay-on-Wye (or simply “Hay"), Wales. With over 20 different used bookstores, the quirky little village is known to book lovers as a paradise of published works. Old and restored castles stand stoically next to shops, cementing the classical feel of this tome town. Bibliophiles will be arriving en masse for the 2020 Hay Festival, one of the largest book festivals in the world.
Slide 12 of 13: The hippest of travelers have planned visits to Wellington next year, the capital of cool in New Zealand. Full of creative minds and tasty coffee, Wellington is where inspiration occurs. Streets lined with cafes, museums, and artwork, like the unique sculptures found in Civic Square, hold the attention of trendy travelers who are easily bored elsewhere. Oriental Bay is the best place to hang out, but no visit is complete without a ride on the famous Wellington Cable Car.
Slide 13 of 13: Shopping centers may be shutting down all over the U.S., but Chengdu, China, still believes in the mega-mall. Including much more than retail stores, the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, a structure of super proportions, covers more than 18 million square feet, giving visitors plenty to explore. Inside, patrons have access to traditional mall staples, such as an arcade and movie theater, but with stately add-ons like an ice rink and indoor water park, travelers won’t find another building in the world like this one.

With a rapidly changing climate, travelers have considered the effects of where they’re going next year and why. Tomorrow’s adventurer wants to slow down and reflect on how to make a difference, so it’s no wonder why the travel trends of 2020 deal with visiting communities built around sustainability, train travel and diverse cultures. Read on to find out which cities will be hot destinations in the coming year.

Marrakesh, Morocco

Global travelers are amped to explore Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2020, a robust medina in northern Africa. The walled-in city is a blast of aromatic spices, flashes of multicolored textiles, and blended sounds of musicians playing Moroccan instruments. Local souks (or markets) are a huge draw for their specialized bargains on rugs, fruits, oils, antiques, and more. Situated in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the city offers seemingly secret places of beauty found in even slim side streets and alleys.

Auroville, India

As the conscious traveler becomes more aware of their social and environmental impact, places like Auroville, India, beckon to those curious about alternative living styles. Sometimes mistaken for an ashram, Auroville is a non-religious community dedicated to diversity, sustainability, and harmony. Made up of citizens from dozens of nations, Auroville is known for its central gold-plated dome meant for completely silent meditation. (Absolutely no noise or photography is allowed inside.)

San Juan, Puerto Rico

After more than two years of hurricane recovery, Puerto Rico is teeming with life and laughter. A year to be marked by celebration, 2020 events such as the San Sebastian Street Festival, happening in January, prove that the spirit of the city is thriving. Iconic landmarks, including colorful Old San Juan and El Castillo San Felipe del Morro (aka El Morro), a historical site with seaside landscaping favorited for kite flying, are still popular with locals and visitors from all around the world.

Vancouver, Canada

Continuously ranked as one of the world’s friendliest cities, Vancouver is at the top of “to-go lists” for travelers in 2020. Though it’s the largest city in Canada, Vancouver has maintained a balanced relationship with its natural elements, exemplified best by sister bridges, Lions Gate Bridge, a beautifully designed suspension bridge accessible to vehicles, and the rainforest-surrounded Capilano Suspension Bridge, located just a few miles away.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The blossoming city of Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, has been steadily attracting more tourism, with 2020 looking to be a monumental year. Once it opens next year, Jeddah Tower, a soon-to-be-finished, 1 km high (more than 3,200 feet) skyscraper, will be the centerpiece of the new, modern part of the city. With crystal-clear views of the Red Sea, cyclists and pedestrians are able to relax and take in peaceful scenery from the lengthy Jeddah City coastline.

Melbourne, Australia

A certified carbon-neutral city, Melbourne, Australia, is a place where visitors can enjoy an urban European feel among lush parks and gardens. Among the rankings of most livable places on earth, Melbourne is a pedestrian-friendly city that also offers a large network of inner-city trams, a plus for travelers concerned about their own carbon footprint while away from home. Visitors find the city center convenient and kooky. It contains an array of unique street art and attractions such as the Eureka Skydeck and wildlife-filled Royal Botanic Gardens within walking distance from each other.

Atlanta, Georgia

Long regarded as a hot spot, Atlanta, Georgia, never stops building onto itself. Tyler Perry Studios, the massive film production operation built on 330 acres of land, will open its doors for public tours in 2020, adding a new and exciting dynamic to a city that keeps expanding. In recent years, the city has added other grand features, including the ever-evolving scenic Beltline trail, and Suntrust Park, containing the Atlanta Braves Stadium, which feels like an entire town in itself.

Cape Town, South Africa

With great weather, top-notch seafood, and diverse neighborhoods, it’s easy to see why Cape Town, South Africa, is a global favorite travel destination. Next year, travelers are especially excited to experience the hiking trifecta of Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, and Table Mountain, also known as the Three Peaks. Easygoing vacationers may choose to take a cable car to the summit of Table Mountain for the sweeping views over the entire town, even overlooking Robben Island, the isle where Nelson Mandela spent part of his 27-year prison stay.

Moscow, Russia

One of the leading travel trends of next year is slow motion travel, with an emphasis on luxury train experiences. Moscow, Russia, is the hub to some of the most spectacular trains, including the Golden Eagle train that ventures through the awe-inspiring Trans-Siberian route. Though largely inclusive of food, drinks, and gratuities, luxury train tours cost a pretty penny. Budget-savvy travelers may want to instead ride the Paris-Moscow Express, a well-known sleeper train that won’t break the bank.

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

The United Kingdom has a reputation for cloudy weather, but that works just fine for Hay-on-Wye (or simply “Hay”), Wales. With over 20 different used bookstores, the quirky little village is known to book lovers as a paradise of published works. Old and restored castles stand stoically next to shops, cementing the classical feel of this tome town. Bibliophiles will be arriving en masse for the 2020 Hay Festival, one of the largest book festivals in the world.

Wellington, New Zealand

The hippest of travelers have planned visits to Wellington next year, the capital of cool in New Zealand. Full of creative minds and tasty coffee, Wellington is where inspiration occurs. Streets lined with cafes, museums, and artwork, like the unique sculptures found in Civic Square, hold the attention of trendy travelers who are easily bored elsewhere. Oriental Bay is the best place to hang out, but no visit is complete without a ride on the famous Wellington Cable Car.

Chengdu, China

Shopping centers may be shutting down all over the U.S., but Chengdu, China, still believes in the mega-mall. Including much more than retail stores, the New Century Global Center in Chengdu, a structure of super proportions, covers more than 18 million square feet, giving visitors plenty to explore. Inside, patrons have access to traditional mall staples, such as an arcade and movie theater, but with stately add-ons like an ice rink and indoor water park, travelers won’t find another building in the world like this one.

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Hand luggage: Never fly without this item – seasoned travellers reveal must-have

Travel by plane is one of the most popular forms of travel, approximately 39 million flights taking off around the world in 2019 according to the latest data from Statista. However, as more airline boost their offerings, more stringent rules are coming into place surrounding hand luggage. With often limited size and weight allowances for bags on board, passengers must pack wisely. Seasoned travellers took to Reddit to share their top tips on ensuring the perfect cabin bag, with one small item deemed a make or break addition to any joinery.

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Passengers listed all manner of things that are known to boost their inflight experience, however, it was a small pack of chewing gum that reigned supreme.

across the board, travellers said this was a go-to item when packing their bags, with some saying that forgetting it could dampen the whole experience.

“Chewing gum is really the most important thing,” said one frequent flier.

“I regret it every time I forget to bring some! It helps so much with the pressure in your ears.”

Not only is chewing gum great for freshening up breath before departing from the plane, but it also helps alleviate the pressure build-up which occurs when the plane descends rapidly.

Passengers often experience a “pop” in their ears as the result of the plane ascending and descending through the air space.

Air high above the surface of the Earth is less dense than air near the surface, and as the atmospheric [pressure changes, it can cause pressure on the eardrum.

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Chewing gum can help ease the sensation as the chewing motion can also help to open up the eustachian tubes situated within the inner ear.

Other hand luggage must-haves that were mentioned by travellers include tissues, make-up, a pen and a book or magazine.

However, even with these necessities laid out, some travellers are over-packers by nature.

Luckily another traveller revealed their top tips for getting more items on board while beating airline baggage weight restrictions.

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The passenger posted to Reddit to share their handy hack.

The frequent flier wrote: “My hack is that they don’t weigh you. I have a SCOTTeVEST that I load up with all my heavy stuff and electronics. Once I’m through security I repack everything into my bag.”

The suggestion recommends wearing a garment with a lot of pockets and fill those with heavier items at check-in.

It means that when the hand luggage is weighed by staff, it is a lot lighter.

It should be noted, though, that although this is a great tip for check-in, at security passengers will have to empty their pockets.

Airport security requires all items to be placed into trays to pass through the x-ray machine, meanwhile, people are required to pass through a magnetic scanner or a larger x-ray machine in some flight hubs.

The passenger adds: “While it’s not comfortable carrying stuff like this, it gets me past the weigh station and onto the plane as long as I have room in my bag.”

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Europe's Most Overcrowded Cities

It’s no secret that Europe’s top tourist destinations are crowded with residents and visitors throughout the year but you might be surprised by just how populous some of the most sought-after cities have become.

The team at SchengenVisaInfo.com recently crunched the numbers to reveal which top destinations within the European Union are the most overcrowded with residents and tourists.

London and Paris lead the list, with each areas home to as many as 12 million locals and hosting roughly 19 million and 18 million annual international visitors, respectively. Paris has seen a jump in prices for food, accommodations and other services as a result while officials in London have introduced limits that prevent a shortage of housing supply and rent increase for locals to combat the mammoth people numbers.

Spanish metropolises Madrid and Barcelona have also been impacted by overcrowding. Madrid’s annual visitor count (6 million-plus) nearly matches its population of 6.6 million and Barcelona’s concerns regarding the ill effects of overtourism have been well-documented as the city’s nearly 9 million visitors per year almost double its population of 4.6 million.

In Italy, Milan and Rome are also quite jam-packed with residents and tourists in 2019, each hosting approximately 9 million visitors per year on top of local populations in the 4.4 million to 5.1 million range, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com.

Berlin’s case is especially unique in that the German capital’s annual visitor count (13.5 million) is nearly triple that of its population (5 million). The influx in arrivals has prompted some less than friendly greetings from residents.

If you’ve got plans to visit one of these popular cities, consider traveling during off-peak or low seasons when you’ll have fewer crowds to contend with and are more likely to snag a deal.

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Travel swaps you can do in 2020 to help prevent overtourism



Slide 1 of 41: Thanks to cheap flights, easily-available accommodation and our insatiable appetite to explore the world’s most beautiful locations, travel is booming. But while tourism can be a fantastic boost to a nation’s economy, it can also put a strain on the infrastructure, damage the local environment and lead to overcrowding. Here, we bring you 20 alternatives to some of the world’s best-loved but busy destinations.
Slide 2 of 41: Last year a record 8.3 million tourists flocked to Belgium’s most famous medieval city, drawn to its cobbled streets, beguiling chocolate shops and mirror-like canals. But with visitors outnumbering locals by three to one on busier days, authorities have recently taken measures to limit the influx, including reducing the level of advertising they give the city.
Slide 3 of 41: Just 24 miles (39km) away from Bruges is the significantly less touristy but no less enjoyable town of Ghent. Here, you’ll find cobbled streets flanked by colorful gingerbread houses, and fairy-tale towers and turrets aplenty. Meander alongside the winding canals, then head to De Dulle Griet where you’ll find more than 250 Belgian beers to choose from. At Korenmarkt, the city's central square, stop at one of the street vendors to try cuberdons, the famous cone-shaped Belgian candy.
Slide 4 of 41: Boracay Island may be just under four square miles, but it was visited by over two million tourists in 2017. Many were drawn to the sugar-soft sands and party scene, but in 2018 it was closed for a six-month rehabilitation project after the president of the Philippines called it a “cesspool”. It’s said that after one party weekend, 10 tons of trash were collected from the beach.

Slide 5 of 41: This dazzling gem in the south-central Philippines offers pristine beaches, fringed by aquamarine waters. With its brilliant corals, dolphins and barracudas, it’s a haven for divers but there’s plenty to explore on dry land too. Drive across the bridge to Bohol and you’ll find the famous Chocolate Hills – more than 1,268 dome-shaped mounds scattered across the landscape.
Slide 6 of 41: Thanks to its popularity with cruise ships and having been used as a filming location for the hugely successful TV series Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik has become a mecca for tourists. But the massive influx of visitors piles an enormous strain on the town’s infrastructure and in 2016, UNESCO warned that Dubrovnik’s World Heritage Site status was in jeopardy unless it reduced the number of tourists.
Slide 7 of 41: Rovinj’s terracotta rooftops, pastel-color Venetian buildings and majestic Baroque church make it every bit as enchanting as Dubrovnik. Perched on the North Adriatic, this pretty Istrian fishing harbor has narrow, cobbled streets, fantastic seafood and centuries-old buildings to explore. For incredible views, visit the 18th-century Church of St. Euphemia and climb to the top of the bell tower.
Slide 8 of 41: More than 30 million tourists visit Tuscany each year, drawn to the allure of Florence, Siena and Pisa, as well as the cypress tree-peppered landscape. But with 10 visitors for every local, there are concerns that mass tourism will increase the cost of living. In Florence, locals became so enraged by visitors sprawling across sidewalks and doorsteps to eat their lunch that a fine was introduced on four historic streets.
Slide 9 of 41: Umbria is Tuscany’s lesser-known but just as beautiful little sister. Here you’ll find truffle-laced pasta, full-bodied wines and olive groves, all for a fraction of the cost. There’s no shortage of art either – visit the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi in Assisi, where you’ll find Giotto’s famous fresco telling the story of Saint Francis. The captivating hilltop town of Orvieto is another must-see, perched high on its rocky outcrop.

Slide 10 of 41: Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, coastal location and party vibe, Barcelona is on many a bucket list. Add to that Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and the Picasso museum, and it’s not hard to see why an estimated 32 million visitors descend on the city each year. But recently, authorities have become increasingly concerned about overcrowding and an increase in antisocial behavior. There are rising ecological fears too, largely due to often high-polluting cruise ships.
Slide 11 of 41: With its gargantuan Gothic cathedral, moreish tapas and dazzling Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, Seville offers a fantastic – and quieter – alternative to Barcelona’s crowded streets. Visit the 14th-century Alcázar, one of the world’s oldest palaces. Here you’ll find sumptuous golden ceilings, ornate ceramic tiles and tranquil gardens, dotted with glistening pools. Here are more reasons why you should visit Seville.
Slide 12 of 41: Nearly 10 million tourists have swarmed to this stunning stretch of sand since 2000, when it shot to fame in Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. But the advent of up to 3,500 daily visitors has wreaked havoc on the tropical idyll. Thanks to pollution from boats, trash and sunscreen, it’s believed that more than 80% of the coral has been devastated. In a bid to save Maya Bay from further destruction, Thai authorities have closed it until 2021.

Find other amazing destinations being ruined by trash here
Slide 13 of 41: This tiny island on Thailand’s Andaman coast offers powdery coral sand, jungle-clad hills and panoramic sea views over limestone karsts. Don’t expect a party scene – there are few resorts here and no roads. Instead you’ll experience tranquillity, stunning scenery and crystal-clear waters. Kick back without the crowds and explore the coral reef, where you’ll find angel fish and clown fish.
Slide 14 of 41: With its glassy turquoise lakes, spectacular mountains and hot springs, it’s not hard to see why more than four million tourists were drawn to Banff National Park in 2018/19. But some conservationists have called on Parks Canada to start limiting the number of people who can enter, fearing that swelling crowds and congestion are threatening the fragile ecosystem and tarnishing the visitor experience.

Slide 15 of 41: Instead of jostling for a snap of Lake Louise, why not hop over into British Columbia and visit Yoho National Park instead? Parks Canada is actively encouraging visitors to make the leap and for good reason. Here you’ll find azure lakes (Emerald Lake is a must-see), thundering waterfalls and 248.5 miles (400km) of trails. Better still, visitor numbers are one fifth of those heading to Banff. Discover more stunning Canadian lakes you've never heard of here.
Slide 16 of 41: For decades tourists have piled into Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, excited by the possibility of an exhilarating trek to the top of its iconic, rusty-red monolith. But now, after years of controversy, climbing Uluru itself (previously known as Ayer’s Rock) has finally been banned. Not only is it an intensely sacred place for the Aboriginal people, but tourists have been blamed for littering, eroding the rock’s ancient surface and polluting nearby waterholes.
Slide 17 of 41: Instead, make a journey to this majestic natural amphitheater in south Australia’s Flinders Ranges National Park. Dating back some 800 million years, it has an almost-sheer outer rock face but visitors can explore the inner basin by foot on a series of walks. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife which includes the red kangaroo, eagles, dingoes and several types of snake.
Slide 18 of 41: Amsterdam is expected to attract around 23 million yearly tourists by 2025, thanks to its historic canals, art galleries and notorious Red Light District. But there are fears that mass tourism is threatening the soul of the city, as new shops and restaurants increasingly cater for visitors and a lack of affordable housing squeezes out locals. Authorities have also voiced concerns over antisocial behavior, such as public drunkenness and urinating in canals.
Slide 19 of 41: It’s often overshadowed by Amsterdam but Utrecht offers tree-lined canals, medieval architecture and a vibrant café culture. Explore the winding waterways from a rowing boat or hire a bike and join the city’s many cyclists. If you’re feeling energetic, climb the 465 steps up the Dom Tower where you can admire 13 enormous bells and soak up panoramic views over the city below. Utrecht also has a thriving music scene, with venues playing everything from classical to jazz and rock.
Slide 20 of 41: With its warm, milky-blue waters and dramatic volcanic landscape, there’s little doubt Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is a spectacular way to while away an afternoon. But it also comes with tourists, and lots of them. Some 1.2 million people arrived here in 2017, keen to wallow in the 98.6–104°F (37–40°C) waters, sweat it out in a sauna or steam room and plaster on a silica-rich face mask.
Slide 21 of 41: Instead, why not travel to Mývatn Nature Bath in the north of island. It may not offer all the glitz of the Blue Lagoon but you’ll find similar milky-blue waters, with temperatures of 96.8–104°F (36–40°C), at around half the price. As well as the pools themselves, there are two geothermally-heated steam baths, plus changing rooms with organic body products. Once you’ve had your watery fun, head to the café for goulash and the famous geyser bread which is baked underground. Find more underrated spots in Iceland here.
Slide 22 of 41: This mysterious prehistoric stone circle, perched on Wiltshire’s rolling fields, deservedly draw crowds from across the globe. But anyone hoping to soak up the atmosphere in solitude is likely to be disappointed – more than one million people visit Stonehenge each year and in peak season the chances are you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with several other tourists eager to catch a glimpse of the iconic boulders. Plus, you can't even get up-close to the stones – they're roped off to preserve them.
Slide 23 of 41: Just a 40-minute drive north from Stonehenge is the quiet village of Avebury, where you’ll find the largest stone circle in the world. This architectural sensation, which dates back to Neolithic times, is free to visit and only attracts a fraction of the tourists heading to Stonehenge.  Best of all, you can wander at your leisure between the vast boulders and out of season, you may only have a few local sheep for company.
Slide 24 of 41: Everest’s once-pristine slopes are said to have become the world’s highest garbage dump, thanks to the hordes that come to scale its snow-capped peaks. In 2019 it was reported that more than three tons of trash had been removed from the area, including tents, used oxygen cylinders and plastic. However, the problem persists due to overcrowding and a lack of waste infrastructure.
Slide 25 of 41: Ladakh may not give you the chance to conquer the world’s highest peak but the region does offer snow-dusted mountains, majestic scenery and hiking to suit most abilities. Here you can trek through the lower Himalayas which are dotted with precariously positioned Buddhist monasteries and home to the endangered Tibetan antelope. Start your adventure in the town of Leh with its impressive nine-story royal palace.
Slide 26 of 41: In 2017, UNESCO threatened to put Machu Picchu on its list of World Heritage Sites in Danger, due to concerns that persistent overcrowding could damage the fragile ruins. Visitor numbers have since been limited to 4,000 a day and tourists are requested to stick to specific trails, instead of freely clambering over the ancient rocks. However, these numbers still exceed UNESCO's recommendations and many still fear the Inca citadel remains vulnerable.

Discover more bucket list experiences you should avoid
Slide 27 of 41: Just 40 miles from Machu Picchu is Choquequirao, a lesser-known Inca citadel that’s thought to be three times bigger. The only snag is that in order to explore its magnificent terraces, palaces and temples, you currently need to undertake an exhilarating four-day hike. But the trek makes the end result even more worthwhile – plus it ensures you won’t be fighting off camera-wielding crowds once you get there.
Slide 28 of 41: Earlier this year thousands of excited tourists were thwarted in their attempts to visit the Louvre when staff went on strike. The reason? They claimed the museum was “suffocating” as a result of overcrowding and that conditions were deteriorating for visitors and employees. It’s fair to say that the museum, which houses the Mona Lisa, is often jam-packed. More than 10 million people arrive each year and visitors complain of lining up to catch a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece.
Slide 29 of 41: While nothing can rival the sheer scale of the Louvre, the Musée Marmottan Monet offers a collection that’s sure to delight art buffs. It may look unassuming from the exterior but inside you’ll find one of the city’s largest Impressionism collections. There are more than 100 works by Monet himself, as well as paintings by Degas, Manet, Gaugin, Renoir and Pissarro. Best of all, you won’t find yourself battling the crowds. Find more things to do in Paris here.
Slide 30 of 41: With its pastel houses seemingly clinging to the cliffs, Italy’s Cinque Terre has become a magnet for tourists. But popularity comes at a cost to this community of five picturesque fishing villages, connected by train. Tourists continue to arrive in droves (numbering around 2.5 million each year), putting a huge strain on the area’s fragile infrastructure.
Slide 31 of 41: Dramatically poised on Corsica’s rugged limestone cliffs, many of Bonifacio’s buildings look like they’re almost suspended over the sea below. Explore the town’s meandering cobbled streets and take a walk to Capo Pertusato lighthouse, where you’ll find staggering views over the glistening waters. If you fancy a dip, take a hike along the coastal path to L'Arinella, a pretty beach where you’ll find peace and quiet aplenty. 

Find more of the world's most stunning clifftop towns here
Slide 32 of 41: Nearly nine million tourists are predicted to hit Prague this year, drawn to its spectacular 9th-century castle, stunning spires and the famous Charles Bridge. But the streets are increasingly congested with sightseeing groups and there are fears that mass pub crawls, fueled by cheap beer, are rapidly eroding the locals' quality of life. In a bid to improve the status quo, officials have pledged to impose limits on alcohol serving times and clamp down on noisy or drunken behavior.
Slide 33 of 41: Like Prague, this Estonian city is home to fairy-tale spires, cobblestone streets and myriad pretty buildings, yet it has around half the number of visitors. Wander around the impressive city walls, linked by 20 towers, then head to the Kohtuotsa viewing platform on Toompea Hill, where you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views over the harbor below. Find our full guide to Tallinn here.
Slide 34 of 41: More than six million people visit this colossal natural wonder each year, keen to experience the mesmerizing views and hiking trails that the vast chasm has to offer. As a result, conditions can get somewhat congested in the most popular areas during busy periods, with long entry lines, a wait for buses and limited parking. And at the most iconic viewpoints, the chances are you’ll find yourself one of a crowd.
Slide 35 of 41: With its dramatic canyons, vivid rainbow rocks and bizarre, haunting beauty, Badlands National Park wouldn't look out of place in a sci-fi movie. Granted, it doesn’t have the sheer magnitude of the Grand Canyon but it also doesn’t have the crowds. Explore by foot or by car, and you’re more likely to find yourself rubbing shoulders with bison or prairie dogs than hordes of other travelers.
Slide 36 of 41: Travelers throng to Bali for its palm-fringed beaches, tranquil rice fields and exotic temples but in 2017 the authorities declared a “garbage emergency” across a section of the island’s once-unspoiled coastline. A mass clean-up ensued but some fear overtourism is taking its toll on the island’s fragile environment. Meanwhile, as a result of disrespectful behavior at sacred Hindu sites, officials have warned tourists to behave or risk being sent home.
Slide 37 of 41: This Indonesian archipelago offers jungle-clad islands, pristine beaches and stellar birdlife. Here, lush limestone karsts protrude from the azure sea which teems with tropical fish and, if you’re lucky, dolphins too. Start your travels at Waigeo Island where you can explore the richly forested interior before embarking on an underwater adventure.
Slide 38 of 41: Beautiful Budapest has been drawing legions of visitors for years, thanks to its magnificent thermal baths, vast array of museums and stunning Vajdahunyad Castle. But its huge popularity has also led to a growing party scene which has enraged residents thanks to the noise, littering and, at times, antisocial behavior.
Slide 39 of 41: The stunning Georgian capital, situated on the banks of the Kura River, is a mesmerizing blend of historic churches, deserted monasteries and cobblestone streets. Like Budapest, the city is known for its thermal spring baths, famed for their rejuvenating properties. Many locals still use the baths today, in the hope that the waters will help ease eczema, arthritis and digestive problems.
Slide 40 of 41: It’s won the hearts of billions of people from across the globe but Venice is suffering from a serious case of overcrowding. Every day, hordes flock to the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square, tramping through the city’s winding streets. And with the number of annual visitors projected to reach 38 million by 2025, the burgeoning tourism industry is feared by many to be threatening its future. Meanwhile, Venice has been hit by the highest tides in 50 years, causing terrible flooding.

Now take a look at the tourist attractions ruined by commercialization
Slide 41 of 41: Escape the throngs and do Venice’s strained infrastructure a favor by making a trip to the medieval city of Bassano del Grappa instead. Just over an hour from Venice, it’s perched prettily on the River Brenta and offers stunning views of the Venetian Prealps. Once you’ve soaked up the Palladian architecture, Renaissance palaces and ancient churches, pay a visit to the Ponte degli Alpini, an enchanting wooden bridge that straddles the river’s banks.

Discover more underrated small historic cities you need to visit

Alternative destinations

Swap: Bruges, Belgium

For: Ghent, Belgium

Swap: Boracay Island, the Philippines

For: Panglao Island, the Philippines

Swap: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thanks to its popularity with cruise ships and having been used as a filming location for the hugely successful TV series Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik has become a mecca for tourists. But the massive influx of visitors piles an enormous strain on the town’s infrastructure and in 2016, UNESCO warned that Dubrovnik’s World Heritage Site status was in jeopardy unless it reduced the number of tourists.

For: Rovinj, Croatia

Swap: Tuscany, Italy

More than 30 million tourists visit Tuscany each year, drawn to the allure of Florence, Siena and Pisa, as well as the cypress tree-peppered landscape. But with 10 visitors for every local, there are concerns that mass tourism will increase the cost of living. In Florence, locals became so enraged by visitors sprawling across sidewalks and doorsteps to eat their lunch that a fine was introduced on four historic streets.

For: Umbria, Italy

Swap: Barcelona, Spain

Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, coastal location and party vibe, Barcelona is on many a bucket list. Add to that Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and the Picasso museum, and it’s not hard to see why an estimated 32 million visitors descend on the city each year. But recently, authorities have become increasingly concerned about overcrowding and an increase in antisocial behavior. There are rising ecological fears too, largely due to often high-polluting cruise ships.

For: Seville, Spain

With its gargantuan Gothic cathedral, moreish tapas and dazzling Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, Seville offers a fantastic – and quieter – alternative to Barcelona’s crowded streets. Visit the 14th-century Alcázar, one of the world’s oldest palaces. Here you’ll find sumptuous golden ceilings, ornate ceramic tiles and tranquil gardens, dotted with glistening pools.

Swap: Maya Bay, Thailand

Nearly 10 million tourists have swarmed to this stunning stretch of sand since 2000, when it shot to fame in Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. But the advent of up to 3,500 daily visitors has wreaked havoc on the tropical idyll. Thanks to pollution from boats, trash and sunscreen, it’s believed that more than 80% of the coral has been devastated. In a bid to save Maya Bay from further destruction, Thai authorities have closed it until 2021.

For: Koh Ngai, Thailand

Swap: Banff National Park, Canada

For: Yoho National Park, Canada

Instead of jostling for a snap of Lake Louise, why not hop over into British Columbia and visit Yoho National Park instead? Parks Canada is actively encouraging visitors to make the leap and for good reason. Here you’ll find azure lakes (Emerald Lake is a must-see), thundering waterfalls and 248.5 miles (400km) of trails. Better still, visitor numbers are one fifth of those heading to Banff.

Swap: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

For: Wilpena Pound, Southern Australia

Swap: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is expected to attract around 23 million yearly tourists by 2025, thanks to its historic canals, art galleries and notorious Red Light District. But there are fears that mass tourism is threatening the soul of the city, as new shops and restaurants increasingly cater for visitors and a lack of affordable housing squeezes out locals. Authorities have also voiced concerns over antisocial behavior, such as public drunkenness and urinating in canals.

For: Utrecht, The Netherlands

Swap: Blue Lagoon, Iceland

For: Mývatn Nature Bath, Iceland

Instead, why not travel to Mývatn Nature Bath in the north of island. It may not offer all the glitz of the Blue Lagoon but you’ll find similar milky-blue waters, with temperatures of 96.8–104°F (36–40°C), at around half the price. As well as the pools themselves, there are two geothermally-heated steam baths, plus changing rooms with organic body products. Once you’ve had your watery fun, head to the café for goulash and the famous geyser bread which is baked underground. 

Swap: Stonehenge, England

This mysterious prehistoric stone circle, perched on Wiltshire’s rolling fields, deservedly draw crowds from across the globe. But anyone hoping to soak up the atmosphere in solitude is likely to be disappointed – more than one million people visit Stonehenge each year and in peak season the chances are you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with several other tourists eager to catch a glimpse of the iconic boulders. Plus, you can’t even get up-close to the stones – they’re roped off to preserve them.

For: Avebury, England

Swap: Mount Everest, Nepal

For: Ladakh, India

Swap: Machu Picchu, Peru

In 2017, UNESCO threatened to put Machu Picchu on its list of World Heritage Sites in Danger, due to concerns that persistent overcrowding could damage the fragile ruins. Visitor numbers have since been limited to 4,000 a day and tourists are requested to stick to specific trails, instead of freely clambering over the ancient rocks. However, these numbers still exceed UNESCO’s recommendations and many still fear the Inca citadel remains vulnerable.

For: Choquequirao, Peru

Swap: Musée du Louvre, Paris

For: Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

While nothing can rival the sheer scale of the Louvre, the Musée Marmottan Monet offers a collection that’s sure to delight art buffs. It may look unassuming from the exterior but inside you’ll find one of the city’s largest Impressionism collections. There are more than 100 works by Monet himself, as well as paintings by Degas, Manet, Gaugin, Renoir and Pissarro. Best of all, you won’t find yourself battling the crowds.

Swap: Cinque Terre, Italy

For: Bonifacio, Corsica

Dramatically poised on Corsica’s rugged limestone cliffs, many of Bonifacio’s buildings look like they’re almost suspended over the sea below. Explore the town’s meandering cobbled streets and take a walk to Capo Pertusato lighthouse, where you’ll find staggering views over the glistening waters. If you fancy a dip, take a hike along the coastal path to L’Arinella, a pretty beach where you’ll find peace and quiet aplenty. 

Swap: Prague, Czech Republic

For: Tallinn, Estonia

Like Prague, this Estonian city is home to fairy-tale spires, cobblestone streets and myriad pretty buildings, yet it has around half the number of visitors. Wander around the impressive city walls, linked by 20 towers, then head to the Kohtuotsa viewing platform on Toompea Hill, where you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views over the harbor below. 

Swap: Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

For: Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA

Swap: Bali, Indonesia

For: Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

Swap: Budapest, Hungary

Beautiful Budapest has been drawing legions of visitors for years, thanks to its magnificent thermal baths, vast array of museums and stunning Vajdahunyad Castle. But its huge popularity has also led to a growing party scene which has enraged residents thanks to the noise, littering and, at times, antisocial behavior.

For: Tbilisi, Georgia

The stunning Georgian capital, situated on the banks of the Kura River, is a mesmerizing blend of historic churches, deserted monasteries and cobblestone streets. Like Budapest, the city is known for its thermal spring baths, famed for their rejuvenating properties. Many locals still use the baths today, in the hope that the waters will help ease eczema, arthritis and digestive problems.

Swap: Venice, Italy

It’s won the hearts of billions of people from across the globe but Venice is suffering from a serious case of overcrowding. Every day, hordes flock to the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square, tramping through the city’s winding streets. And with the number of annual visitors projected to reach 38 million by 2025, the burgeoning tourism industry is feared by many to be threatening its future. Meanwhile, Venice has been hit by the highest tides in 50 years, causing terrible flooding.

For: Bassano del Grappa, Italy

Escape the throngs and do Venice’s strained infrastructure a favor by making a trip to the medieval city of Bassano del Grappa instead. Just over an hour from Venice, it’s perched prettily on the River Brenta and offers stunning views of the Venetian Prealps. Once you’ve soaked up the Palladian architecture, Renaissance palaces and ancient churches, pay a visit to the Ponte degli Alpini, an enchanting wooden bridge that straddles the river’s banks.

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