Planning your next vacation? You’re in luck because American Express Travel revealed the top 10 travel destinations, based on its year-over-year (YOY) proprietary booking data.
There is a nice variety whether you are looking for an adventure, a family trip, or a romantic getaway. Whatever “flavor” you enjoy there are amazing spots around the world.
Of note, our agents and owners have been to each of the destinations on the list. When we say “We’ve been there!” it’s true.
In no particular order, here are the:
Top 10 Travel Destinations according to American Express
Barcelona, Spain – “The city of Marvels”
“Barcelona is an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture, fabled architecture, and a world-class drinking and dining scene.” Lonely Planet
First on the list of Top 10 Travel Destinations is Catalonia and Barcelona. They have become a popular tourist destination in Spain. It so much that draws visitors with a history among the oldest in Europe. Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, never sleeps with its vibrant nightlife and old-world charm. This city has over four miles of beautiful beaches along the La Costa Brava. A day trip along La Costa Brava will take you to a variety of charming towns. The city overflows artistic treasures, Romanesque churches, and many famous names in modern art and architecture, Picasso Dali, Gaudi, and Miro.
Barcelona is situated between the Mediterranean sea and the mountains. It’s found a balance of cultural, traditional and modern, as well as having the reputation of being the most cosmopolitan, contemporary, and innovative city in Spain.
Insider Info: On one of our trips to Barcelona, we stayed in town at Hotel Colon and less than 5 minutes away discovered an early haunt of Picasso, a restaurant called the 4 Cats. According to info posted on the wall, Picasso used to trade his artistry for meals. And you may still see his artwork hanging over your table. Dine upstairs for a cool panorama of the activity and diners below.
2. Doha, Qatar
“It’s rare to see a great city in the making these days, but here’s your chance. Whether it’s the stunning and constantly changing skyline, Doha is a city oozing confidence and style.” Lonely Planet
Next on the list of Top 1 Travel Destinations is Doha. While Dubai is more well known, the very small, oil and gas-rich nation of Qatar now officially holds the title of the richest country in the world.
Operating like Dubai’s ‘bigger is better’, retail is very serious business. For example at the Venetian-themed Villaggio mall, visitors can sail on an indoor canal, go ice skating at an indoor Olympic-sized skating facility. There is even a 22,000 sq. meter. theme park!
There are some of the finest restaurants and hotels in the world in Doha with chefs you know like Gordon Ramsey. And another great perk? Qatar Airlines is rated the number one in the world so even when you go and come back, your living in the lap of luxury.
Doha even has its own man-sculpted island, The Pearl, that has the most exclusive properties, hotels, and restaurants in the city (see this interactive map).
Insider Info: You oenophiles and folks who enjoy “adult beverages,” you won’t find alcohol anywhere in public but at the finest hotels and certain licensed bars, since Qatar is a Muslim country. We stayed in a modern Muslim-owned hotel when we visited Doha. Luckily we found and gladly walked several blocks to a Swiss-owned Movenpick Hotel with a bar full of ex-pats and a hearty sprinkling of Brits who we enjoyed raising a toast with while imbibing in $10 British ale.
3. Hamburg, Germany
“When all’s said and done, Hamburg’s appeal can be narrowed down to one simple calling card: Welcome to one of the coolest cities on earth.” Lonely Planet
It might surprise you to find Hamburg on the list of Top 10 Trave Destinations but if you want to visit one of the coolest cities on earth, then you need to visit Hamburg, Germany. Located on the Elbe River in the northern part of Germany, it is the country’s largest port and commercial center. It has a distinctly maritime vibe and vibrant neighborhoods overflowing with multiethnic eateries, historic architecture, and even the splendidly seedy Reeperbahn red-light district.
Hamburg is a musical city. Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn were born in Hamburg. But you’ll find more than classical music. It also has a rather boisterous, modern soundtrack, and a fascinating story. The city cultivated the early Beatles, music festivals fill the calendar year-round, while the live music scene keeps growing and getting better.
It’s impossible not to have a good time in Hamburg. A gastronomical stop filled with classy bars, excellent restaurants, neighborhood eateries and wonderful nightlife that will take you right to sun up.
Insider Info: If you’re game, treat yourself to an “adult amusement park.” Visit the world-famous Reeperbahn in Hamburg, a street and entertainment center in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district. It’s lined with restaurants, nightlife, clubs of all persuasions, discos, and bars. You won’t be bored, even if you’re just an observer.
4. Marrakech, Morocco
“Prepare for your senses to be slapped. Marrakesh’s heady sights and sounds will dazzle, frazzled, and enchant.” Lonely Planet
One of our personal favorites on the top 10 travel destinations is Marrakech. Situated beneath the snow-capped High Atlas, Marrakech is Morocco’s most memorable experience. The city is on the edge of the Sahara desert and is almost 1,000 years old. This market town grew to become one of the greatest, most vibrant cities for hundreds of miles.
But Marrakech isn’t frozen in history for tourists come to view like the pyramids. It’s bursting at the seams with life and entrepreneurialism that puts other busy cities to shame. This isn’t a place to rush through You’ll meet snake charmers, dine outdoors a lot, have the latest henna tattoos (temporary), and even get a hands-on scrub down in the local Turkish bath call a hammam.
Expect unexpected beauty, eat exotic, delicious foods, comb the bazaars for treasures only found here, and enjoy talking with multi-lingual locals about the best things to do and see while you are there.
When we visited Marrakech on a travel industry trip, we enjoyed a special, behind the scenes private tour of major filming locations for the movie, Sex in the City 2. The tour was led by the film’s original Casting Director who regaled us with numerous behind-the-scenes stories as well as visits to private filming locations no one else ever sees.
In the movie vein, we also visited and toured Atlas Studios in the desert, near Ouarzazate, the largest movie studio in the world. Some of the hundreds of films and TV shows produced there include Game of Thrones, The Jewel of the Nile, Gladiator, Atlantis, and many more.
Morocco is one of our most favorite countries in the world, fascinating with the friendliest people.
5. New Zealand
“Get ready for mammoth national parks, dynamic Māori culture, and world-class surfing and skiing. New Zealand can be mellow or action-packed, but it’s always epic.” Lonely Planet
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, a thrill-seeker, beachgoer, golfer, wine connoisseur, a culture junkie, stargazer or a combination of the above, New Zealand is a must-visit.
The population is a mere 4.8 million New Zealanders are scattered across the land about the size of the United Kingdom but with less than 10% of the population. So what fills in the huge gaps? Glad you asked. There are magnificent forests, snowcapped mountains, clean, clear lakes, pristine beaches, and dramatic fiords. All that openness and beauty make New Zealand one of the best hiking destinations on the earth.
You’ll learn about the Māori culture and language and how New Zealand came to be rugby world champions two years in a row with their unrelenting Māori players.
Food is an adventure too with influences from the British, the South Pacific islands, and Europe. You’ll enjoy the freshest local lamb and seafood like you’ve never tasted. Wash it down with a craft beer or fresh, cool-climate wines like a crisp sauvignon blanc or a soft pinot noir.
Insider Info: When we were in Auckland, we found numerous sports nuts, joggers, and runners who used the perfect weather for keeping fit as well as providing an excuse to hoist a brew after a sweaty workout or run up One Tree Hill or Cornwall Park. Buy a brew for a mate and make a new friend. If you’re from Texas, they’ll likely ask you to talk some so they can enjoy your accent.
6. Nassau, Bahamas
“Stretched between the depths of the North Atlantic and Florida’s eastern coast, the Bahamas comprises more than 700 islands and 2400 cays, most uninhabited, and all fringed by spectacular coral and fathomless ocean trenches. From the grit and bustle of funky Nassau to the vast mangroves of Andros, there’s an astonishing array of beaches, reefs, forests and historic towns to be discovered, all within the compass of an hour’s flight.” Lonely Planet
Nassau is framed by a backdrop of stunning, mesmerizing blue water everywhere you look. This magical spot is ideal for water and sand junkies. There are a hundred things to do on the water from getting a head-spinning, thrill ride about the island from Bahamas Jet Boat to snorkeling with the pigs on Exuma. Snorkel, scuba, dive but get in that water. If you love to party in and out of the water a day pass to Atlantis is a must. And if you are planning on booking in at Atlantis, call one of our Fox Travel Advisors. There are tons of specials and perks just for travel agents.
Enjoy a stroll and do some shopping or learn more about Nassau’s history (it includes Pirates!). But the number one thing to do is enjoy the miles of beautiful beaches and the warm turquoise waters.
Insider Info: Expect to see stars you recognize. When we went clubbing one night years ago, we saw and met (Sir) Sidney Poitier, a famous actor, diplomat, and philanthropist we always respected.
7. Savannah, Georgia, USA
“Rife with elegant townhouses, antebellum mansions, green public squares, pristine tidal freshwater marshes, and mammoth oak trees bedecked in moss, Savannah is a beautiful and culturally rich city.” Lonely Planet
This city is a place to come to enjoy, no I mean really enjoy, old-fashioned Southern and soul food. Savannah’s is on the ocean so of course seafood dominates the menus, but fans of more diverse fare will happily indulge fine food.
Savannah has a dripping in history being the first city in Georgia and the capital. It was the last of the British colonies before the US became its own county.
One of the biggest art colleges in the country is in Savannah so it makes for many museums, galleries and the Victoria district remains, catering to local craftsmen and women and is their vibrant art district.
A little know claim to fame is Savannah hosts the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration second only to New York!
Cute Story: Southern charm and Southern ways: Right after Donna and I were married, our first out of town trip was to Savannah for a travel industry meeting. Checking into the Hyatt, we were asked for I.D. which we supplied with our Driver’s Licenses, of course with different names. They put us in two separate guest rooms until we finally convinced them we were newly married. Fortunately, one of our colleagues who attended the same conference had to vouch for us since he was at the wedding.
“Where passion and possibilities meet” Visit Singapore
Singapore is the easiest city in the world to explore. You can be in one place and then in a matter of minutes. This is because they have one of the most extensive and creative public transport systems in the world.
Dining may be the most popular thing in all of Singapore, at least it’s the most captured city for Instagram posts. Have a great meal for only $2 or go 5-stars with the finest cuisine your taste buds have ever had. A local tip: look for the longest line and the food will be epic. Did I mention the nightlife? There are dozens of amazing spots to have cocktails, enjoy music, and the views that make Singapore unique.
Did you know that Singapore is a green city? Singapore’s magnificent skyline is beginning to look more like living ecosystems than a concrete jungle. Destined to be ‘City in a Garden’ and more and more sustainable. Just outside of town you’ll find a plethora of walking trails and wildlife.
Shopping is endless, from air-conditioned malls with all the designer stores to neighborhood galleries, craftsmen, markets, and herbal shops.
Speaking of walking, we had a chance to run all through the city on a Sunday morning without the crowds before our cruise departed later in the afternoon. What better way to absorb the wonderful sites, sounds, and surroundings unimpeded by traffic and other tourists.
9. Tuscany, Italy
About Florence – “And at sundown when the River Arno turns pink, whether you like things old-fashioned and simple or boutique chic, know that this handsome city will oblige.” Lonely Planet
When writing about Tuscany, five things spring to mind. Fine wine, outstanding cuisine, world-class art, a rich and fascinating history, and perfect landscapes that change in every direction.
The history of the Tuscan region has seduced as far back as the Etruscans who predated the Romans and settled the area for centuries. Tuscany was on the route of Christian pilgrimages. Napoleon Bonaparte looted art only to live in exile in a beautiful Tuscan villa with a view of the sea on the stunning island of Elba with its beautiful beaches. In the 18th and 19th century the British upper class did their Grande Tour for cultural education.
Ahh…the wine and extraordinary food. You can’t travel to Tuscany without visiting wineries that produce some of the best in the world.
And Tuscany is an epicurean destination where you’ll find the residents that great pride and time, growing and preparing some of the freshest dishes you’ll ever eat.
Now the countryside. The Tuscan countryside steps out of a perfect postcard. Dotted with rolling hills, the vineyards, olive gardens, and artful cypress trees appear out of the morning mist and disappear in ethereal light at dusk. Tuscany is a feast for the eyes with mountains, forests, vineyards, rustic farms, medieval castles, and soaring cathedrals. There are islands waiting to be visited that sit off the coastline like sparkling jewels.
Would you believe you can buy good, drinkable wine at small convenience stores and even service stations along the way for 2 – 3 Euros/liter? It won’t make Wine Spectator magazine, but you won’t go thirsty either. Why drink water when you can drink wine just as cheaply?
10. Washington DC, USA
“A city rich with monuments, museums, and power. For one of the youngest countries in the world, the capital Washington DC shines as a testimony to Democracy and hard work.” Unknown
Last, be certainly not least, on the list of top 10 travel destinations, is the US capital. Museums are a landmark in DC and you can visit all for free:
– Smithsonian Institution, which is actually 19 museums
– National Museum of Natural History
– National Museum of African American
– The National Air and Space Museum
– Reynolds Center for American Art & Portraiture
Washington is home to towering monuments like the Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington, the Vietnam and Martin Luther King Memorials. It’s important to visit these historical places that tell the story of America’s proud and troubled past.
The three pillars of the US government, the President, Congress, and Supreme Court call Washington their home. There are embassies from all parts of the globe. The power is palpable. It is exciting to get up close and personal from visiting the inside the White House to the chambers of Congress where the laws that affect all US citizens are made.
If you can visit in the spring, you’ll see the annual blooming of George Washington’s cherry trees that line the Potomac.
If you’re an active person, take a biking tour all around Washington for 2-4 hours, during the day or evening. Hard to believe with all the traffic. Until you do it, you would never see the hidden paths and bikeways that let you get up close and personal to all the major sites. You even have a chance to spend a few minutes in each. Several bike tour companies offer locally guided trips so just Google to choose a tour company.
Why Use a Travel Agent
In this day and age with so many online booking solutions, why use a Travel Advisor? You can visit our blog on that very topic for a full list of benefits, but here are a few compelling reasons to let a Fox Travel expert help you book your next vacation.
As an American Express agency, you can use your AMEX points to pay for some or all of your travel. You will also get the benefit of our staffs combine 100+ years of experience planning and traveling to your destination. We know the secrets of faraway places and can recommend ideas and excursions you’d never think of. As an agency, we get perks and discounts that are not public and only available to travel agents. And perhaps best of all, we save you tons of time, ensure your budget goes as far as possible and it does not cost you a dime!
So give us a shout no matter where you live. The great thing about the internet is we can give you our red-carpet service anywhere! Email us at email@example.com or call (800) 256-2128 Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5:30 pm CST. You can also message us 24/7 on Facebook.
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