Most travelers dream of making memories all over the world. Ask any traveler where their dream travel destination is, and they’ll have a list of places to share, from exploring ancient cities in South America to riding hot air balloons in Myanmar. Destinations they dream of traveling to and places they’ve already been and dream of going back to.
Maybe you’re looking to add some new entries to an old list, or you’re still searching for that first love you can call your dream travel destination. Whatever the case, we’ve got some of the most incredible dream vacation ideas to reignite your quest and set your wanderlust aflame. Read on to discover some of the most magical places and ultimate dream travel destinations to fill up the pages of your passport.
Table of Contents
- 10 of the Best Dream Travel Destinations
- Most Popular Travel Destinations
- Pro-Travel Tips For Getting to Your Dream Travel Destination
10 of the Best Dream Travel Destinations
When choosing your dream travel destination, there are no wrong answers.
No matter what you enjoy most, you can’t miss traveling to these dream vacation destinations! Experience an action-packed adventure, dine on delicious food in a new locale, explore the ancient ruins of an old city, or bask in the beauty of natural wonders!
1. Iceland, Reykjavik
Iceland is a country of marvels, from cities like quirky Reykjavik to natural wonders like Hverfjall crater. If you want to have your breath taken away, travel to Iceland for a dream destination unlike any other.
Your journey starts in Reykjavik. Though small, the signs ensure you won’t miss it. Or, just keep an eye out for the towering Hallgrímskirkja Church, which can be seen for miles around. While the church is beautiful, the 360° view is the real draw, perfect for taking in the city, the mountains, and the ocean.
Below, Reykjavik’s streets offer Icelandic charm and beauty, including the Sun Voyager sculpture, the Harpa Concert Hall, and street art hidden down alleys and plastered on buildings.
While the city has its share of sights, you’ll find Iceland’s best features on the road. There’s a reason Iceland is considered a paradise for nature lovers and why it should be among everyone’s dream travel destinations.
From the Golden Circle tour to charting your own course, you’ll find countless attractions to capture your attention. Stand before the might of the Gullfoss waterfall, take in the sights from Dyrholaey Viewpoint, and dive between two continents at the Silfra Ravine in Thingvellir National Park—the only place in the world where you can cross this item off your bucket list!
You’ll find black sand beaches dotting Iceland’s coast, each with something unique to offer. From the distinct basalt columns at Reynisfjara beach to the enormous chunks of iceberg washed ashore at Diamond Beach, you’re in for a treat wherever you travel.
Offering up endless possibilities and enchantment, Iceland is the kind of place that will make you believe in magic.
Best Time to Visit Iceland
Nature lovers should visit in the summer months, June to August, to take advantage of the best weather and most hours of sunlight. Treat yourself to hot springs, whale watching, and everything under the sun. For a glimpse of the northern lights, pack your winter coat and snowshoes for a trip between October and April.
2. New Zealand, Queenstown
Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown possesses stunning views of gorgeous lakes and majestic mountains aptly named The Remarkables. But these stunning landmarks are far from the only reason Queenstown is a popular getaway. As the Adventure Capital of the World, it’s the destination of every adrenaline junkie’s dreams.
As far as daring activities go, Queenstown doesn’t disappoint. Seek your thrills in the air paragliding off Coronet’s Peak or seek them in the water Jet Boat Riding through Shotover River at over 50mph.
You can even try superhero flying off the freestyle jump at Ledge Bungy for amazing panoramic views of Queenstown, The Remarkables, and Lake Wakatipu—that is, if you’re not jumping off backward.
And if you’re thinking about adventures on land, try hopping on a gondola ride up to Skyline, where you can appreciate the gorgeous scenery as you’re walking, mountain bike riding, or racing back downhill on a luge. Just try to keep the road in sight while you drive.
Additionally, you can’t go to Queenstown without making a trip to Fiordland National Park a priority. Take a helicopter tour over Milford Sound for a bird’s eye view of the incredible scenery or, for a closer look, take a boat cruise with the dramatic cliffs of the fjords rising up around you.
Whatever your preference for death-defying activities, Queenstown is among the best and most breathtaking dream destinations to travel for the daredevil in all of us.
Best Time to Visit New Zealand
New Zealand’s summer, December to March, is the optimal time for experiencing the outdoors and all the heart-pounding adventures you can stomach. The long and sunny days are perfect for outdoor excursions of all kinds. But, if you prefer to take advantage of snow-capped peaks and wicked slopes, plan your visit for June through August.
Claiming another spot on our dream travel destinations list is Fiji, though divers know it by another name: The Soft Coral Capital of the World.
Fiji’s Rainbow Reef often ranks among the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, and the name says it all. Full of colorful corals and incredible sea creatures, this natural beauty is a premier spot for divers visiting Fiji.
But it’s not the only coral reef or great diving spot to be found. The crystal clear waters surrounding Fiji highlight the vibrant coral reefs in dream places like Bligh Water and Somosomo Strait. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go diving with sharks!
Once you drag yourself away from the sea, you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy on land. Horseback ride along the island’s coasts or travel inland and visit the Koroyanitu National Park, where you’ll find hiking trails, mountain biking, and natural pools perfect for a relaxing swim.
You’ll also want to try out island hopping on a day trip or spend a few days at popular destinations like Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. Yasawa is one of 15 Fijian words meaning heaven. After seeing these islands for yourself, you’ll understand how they got the name!
And, of course, a trip to Fiji wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the local villages to experience daily life, meet the friendly residents, and participate in the traditional culture.
Fiji’s magical experiences on land and sea are reason enough to mark this dream destination among your future travels.
Best Time to Visit Fiji
We’d argue that the best time to visit Fiji is whenever you can. However, if you’re looking to take advantage of the best weather, plan your visit for July to September. Of course, as this is peak season, prices tend to skyrocket and crowds descend. Try visiting in the shoulder season, May to June or October, to avoid the worst price hikes and crowds.
4. The Maldives
The Maldives is synonymous with luxury resorts, overwater bungalows, and white sandy beaches.
If you’re looking for a luxury stay to relax, enjoy a romantic getaway with your partner, or just bask in a beautiful place minus the crowds of tourists you’ll find elsewhere, then the Maldives is your perfect dream travel destination.
Home to roughly five percent of the world’s reef area, the Maldives’ sprawling coral reefs offer the perfect reason to strap on your snorkeling gear and dive right in.
But you don’t have to spend your whole trip underwater to enjoy this dream holiday destination. Take your surfboard to the waves of the Indian Ocean or scour the water for a glimpse of dolphins or whales on a boat tour.
And you can’t forget the amazing people living and working among the islands. To get a true sense of Maldivian culture and life outside the flashy resorts, you can take an island hopping tour and get to know the locals.
When rounding off your stay, you can add the Huvafen Fushi Maldives underwater spa and resort to your bucket list. You read that right: it’s underwater. If you’ve ever wanted to be spoiled and indulged while feeling like you’ve been spirited away to the legendary city of Atlantis, then this place will make those dreams a reality.
The Maldives is a stunning destination you’ll want to return to again and again to enjoy the kind of pampered holiday we all deserve.
Best Time to Visit The Maldives
From adventuring to lounging and everything in between, visit this island travel destination between November and April for dream weather. If you plan your trip a little earlier, in October or November, you may even be able to spot whale sharks, a rare and memorable experience for those lucky enough to see it!
5. India, Jaipur
As of 2021, this dream destination has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taking a peak within its walls, it’s not hard to understand why.
Jaipur bears a distinctly fairytale-like spirit, and its moniker as the “Pink City” of India certainly brings that idea to life. This stunning city has been referred to as a photographer’s paradise, and that’s all we needed to hear for us to put this dream place among our list of dream cities.
Jaipur bursts with history and interest around every corner, from its planned layout to the limestone and Indian red brick powder that earned the city its nickname. Every road offers a wealth of amazing things to explore and even more amazing pictures to capture.
One of the most famous dream places in Jaipur is Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, which contains 953 small windows. These windows were used by royal ladies to view festivals and everyday life in the streets.
Countless jewels, from the intricately designed City Palace and the sprawling Amer Fort to Jal Mahal—a palace with four of its five stories sitting underwater—make Jaipur shine.
And if you’re looking for a day trip outside of the city, take a trip to Agra and visit the dream-like Taj Mahal, arguably the most famous travel destination in India and one of 28 places Smithsonian Magazine argues you should see before you die! (That reminds us, Siri, add the Taj Mahal to our bucket list, please.)
India is a vast country, and Jaipur is a worthy stop on its own. But for those with a desire for even more, it stands as a gateway to many other dream destinations within Rajasthan: Jodhpur (the Blue City), Jaisalmer (the Golden City), and Udaipur (the City of the Lakes).
Best Time to Visit India
The summer months are a popular time to travel, but one to avoid if your dream destination is Jaipur. Instead, plan your travels for the rest of the year, October to March, and the winter months specifically, November to January, for the best sightseeing conditions.
6. Jordan, Petra
One of our dream destinations to travel to is a city lost to time. Petra was once a mecca of trade and power as the capital of the Nabataean empire before falling to ruin. The city was abandoned for centuries, earning it the western moniker of the “Lost City.”
Since its rediscovery in 1812, the ancient city of Petra has become a unique site of wonder and awe to which few cities can compare. Featured in numerous films from popular culture like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Mummy Returns, something about this city has captivated people worldwide.
Simply walking into it is like something out of a movie. The sandstone gorge, Al Siq, towers over you on both sides and opens onto one of Petra’s most remarkable and recognizable ruins: the Treasury.
Visitors can view this towering and elaborate facade during the day or come back in the evening for Petra by Night, where you can see Petra under the stars in all its candlelit glory.
Explore the massive Royal Tombs, with their unique colors and architecture, the sprawling Roman Theater, which once accommodated over 8,000 people, and the monastery located at the top of a wide 800-step staircase.
Don’t miss out on visiting Little Petra for a quieter experience of ancient history and fewer crowds. As the name implies, Little Petra is much smaller than Petra but still showcases the incredible work of previous civilizations.
With its status as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Petra is an absolute dream destination and a worthy addition to any bucket list.
Best Time to Visit Jordan
Summer temperatures can climb to over 100°F, so to avoid the blistering heat, it’s best to visit Petra in the spring, March to May, or fall, September to November. That said, fortune favors the bold, and suffering the summer heat for this dream destination will offer a less crowded travel experience of Petra and its wonders.
7. Australia, Sydney
Unlike other bustling cities around the world, which possess the neverending energy and excitement of a child, Sydney has the relaxed air of a cool aunt.
She knows she’s cool. She’s just waiting for you to discover it yourself.
From iconic shots like the Sydney Opera House to beloved attractions like Bondi Beach, Sydney waits patiently to be experienced.
Darling Harbour offers endless delights, including delicious food on the water and countless shops. You’ll also find an infinite array of activities to fill an entire day, from the Sydney Aquarium and Zoo to the Maritime Museum and the Chinese Garden of Friendship.
For a taste of Sydney’s history, head to the Rocks, the oldest part of the city, where European settlers first came ashore. Here the buildings still sport a colonial look and feel, a far cry from Sydney’s typical ultra-modern style.
From wine tasting tours to surfing the waves of Sydney’s white sand beaches, there’s so much to do in the city you’ll be hard-pressed to leave it. But if you do, the Blue Mountains National Park has to be first on your list of stops. Explore the world’s oldest caves in Jenolan or wander through the magic of a glow worm cave.
Spectacular hiking trails in the park lead through lush green forests for peaks at waterfalls, scenic lookouts, and amazing rock formations like the Three Sisters.
Whatever your style, from the avid city-goer to the relaxed nature lover, Sydney has you covered.
Best Time to Visit Australia
Seasons down under are opposite those in the northern hemisphere, making Sydney a dream destination for travel in spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). The city comes alive in spring’s wildflower season. But, if you’re planning to visit the Great Barrier Reef, September and October offer a respite from the worst crowds.
8. Greece, Santorini
If there’s one place to spark imagination and stories of cities lost to the sea, it’s Santorini, a dream destination that some believe to be the legendary city of Atlantis. Or at least a part of it.
But whether Santorini was home to Atlantis or not, this city deserves a spot on your dream destinations bucket list.
From the ocean to the shore, Santorini is filled with one-of-a-kind experiences, starting with its beautiful beaches. Discover red cliffs and sand at Akrotiri Red Beach, picturesque scenes and water sports at Kamari Beach, and black sand surrounded by stunning cliffs at Vlychada. The latter goes by another name, Moon Beach, from the lunar-like shapes carved into the cliff face by the wind.
Full of natural beauty, Santorini is the kind of place you can admire from a rooftop restaurant or hiking to the top of a once mighty volcano.
One of the most popular things to do in Santorini is to take a hike from Fira to Oia, a distance of six miles one way. This scenic route takes you through four towns: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. It’s worth it to take your time as you pick your way through the quaint towns and along the hills, taking in the beautiful white buildings, the craggy coastline, and the crashing ocean waves on this gorgeous day trip.
Of course, a trip to Santorini isn’t complete without a view of the sunset from Oia. Explore this picturesque town during the day, then be sure to grab a good spot for the show. Watching the sunset over the many blue-domed churches in Oia has earned this dream destination a spot on many people’s bucket lists, but it’s only the start of what this charming island has to offer.
Best Time to Visit Greece
There’s nothing like summer in paradise. The best time to visit Greece is during the summer, from May to September, when the country comes alive under blue skies and a blazing sun. Without a doubt, it’s the best time to enjoy Greece’s beaches, but if you’re in the mood for a more active or cultural vacation, consider April to June or September to November for more unique experiences and fewer crowds.
9. Turkey, Istanbul
Every city is made of stories, and Istanbul is one stuffed full of them, crammed into every nook and corner like words in a book.
If this city isn’t among your dream destinations, it should be.
The only city to lie on two continents, Istanbul has been known by many names throughout history and served as the capital of three massive empires—Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.
The city still bears the marks and stories of each empire’s reign throughout the city: the towering Column of Constantine erected by the Romans, the iconic Hagia Sophia church constructed during the Byzantine empire, and the sprawling Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque), built during the Ottoman era.
Istanbul is the perfect place to brush up on the history of these ancient empires in countless museums and structures sprinkled around the city.
When you’re done turning the pages on Istanbul’s many stories, you can begin collecting some of your own. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is famous for its wares. As one of the world’s oldest covered markets, the Bazaar offers singular magic, with everything from spices to handmade rugs and jewelry on display. If you’re shopping here, bargain your way through the stalls, and you’ll come out looking and feeling like a king.
Out of the hustle and bustle of the crowds, take a break appreciating contemporary art from Turkish and international artists in Istanbul Modern, go for a stroll in Emirgan Park, or unwind in the distinguished, dome-topped Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı (public bath), meticulously restored and reopened in 2012.
Wander your way through this mesmerizing city and get lost in its streets and history. The rest of the world will still be waiting when you’re ready to reemerge.
Best Time to Visit Turkey
Planning to explore all the wonders that Turkey has to offer? In that case, schedule your trip for the spring, March to May, or autumn, September to November. Pleasant weather and warm temperatures make exploring Turkey’s delights a breeze.
10. South Africa, Cape Town
If you’re looking for charming seaside towns for your next vacation, look no further than Cape Town in South Africa. Incredible history, vibrant culture, and world-class museums sit between the famous flat-topped Table Mountains and the endless Atlantic Ocean.
Learning about some of the most significant events in South Africa’s history is best explored firsthand. One of the locations of Nelson Mandela’s 27-year imprisonment, Robben Island, holds tours guided by a former captive. Meanwhile, the District Six Museum showcases the devastating consequences of apartheid. The walls are covered in photos, signs, and other significant memorabilia from that time.
In Bo-Kaap, you can visit one of the oldest surviving residential neighborhoods in Cape Town. The Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum, housed in the oldest house in the area, offers fascinating details about this pastel rainbowed town, including why it’s so colorful.
Once you’ve experienced the country’s history and culture, all the beauty of South Africa awaits. Explore high-topped mountains, enjoy pristine beaches, and catch a glimpse of the incredible wildlife.
Walk above the trees in the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, one of the world’s top ten most beautiful botanical gardens. Additionally, you can’t miss taking a road trip out of Cape Town and driving along the Cape Peninsula. Making your way to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point to look out from the southernmost tip of the continent is a must-do experience.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that compares to standing on the edge of a continent as impressive as Africa, which is why Cape Town is one of our top dream destinations.
Best Time to Visit South Africa
Cape Town and the Western Cape stand apart from the rest of the country, with a rainy season in the winter, June to August. Consequently, the best time to plan your visit to the Cape region is between November and March, when the weather is dry and the temperature is great for beaches and sightseeing.
Most Popular Travel Destinations
There’s no such thing as good or bad dream destinations. We simply dream of some travel destinations more than any other.
But what about the destinations that most people dream about visiting and do? Let’s just say there’s a reason why the most popular destinations are popular!
If you still have room on your bucket list for more dream destinations, here are the most visited travel destinations in the world and the US.
World’s Most Popular Travel Destination
When it comes to the most popular destination in the world, Bangkok takes the crown. Before the pandemic, a jaw-dropping 22.78 million people visited Bangkok, more than any other city in the world. Though if you’re curious, Paris was runner-up with just over 19 million visitors.
Bangkok’s appeal no doubt lies in its integration of old with new. Opulent temples and shrines exist side by side with modern skyscrapers. The distinct spires of the Grand palace rise toward the heavens just as the Baiyoke Tower II, the fourth tallest structure in Bangkok, does behind it. You can find these distinct and artfully designed temples and palaces sprinkled throughout Bangkok and its towering structures.
Like other large cities around the world, Bangkok is a bustling epicenter of activity.
Go for a drink on a rooftop bar, treat your tastebuds to Thai cuisine from mouthwateringly good street vendors, and catch a fight at one of the stadiums in Bangkok built for their national sport of Muay Thai.
It’s worth taking a trip here yourself and discovering firsthand all the things that make this capital city in Southeast Asia a dream tourist destination for many around the globe.
Best Time to Visit Thailand
Thailand’s varied climate and landscapes mean you can find the perfect time to visit throughout the year. However, November to March offers the best all-around conditions, with cool temperatures and little rain to ruin your sightseeing plans.
United States’ Most Popular Travel Destination
New York, New York. The most popular destination in the United States shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. The city that’s inspired so many famous works and people alike played showstopper to 13.60 million visitors and ranked seventh in most popular cities globally in 2018.
The first capital of the United States, New York, has been the poster child for the US around the world.
New York encompasses so much of the US, from the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor that first welcomed many immigrants to the nation to Rockefeller Center, where the Christmas Tree is lit every year, and from the shockingly quiet and peaceful greenery of Central Park to the hustle and bustle of Times Square.
With its restless crowds and blinding lights, Times Square is likely one of the many reasons that the moniker of the “City that Never Sleeps” continues to fit so well.
Though significantly younger than most international cities, New York still holds its own with a blend of history and modernism that fascinates visitors. The diversity of one of America’s oldest cities makes it the perfect place to experience the many cultures that make up the United States.
If it’s not already, New York City’s global fame and notoriety should earn it a spot on your dream destinations bucket list.
Best Time to Visit New York
Every season has something to offer in New York, whether it’s fun festivals in summer or the magic of winter in the Big Apple. But for the best all-around time to visit New York and get in your sightseeing fix, plan your trip for the spring, April to June, or autumn, September to November, when the weather is cool and the city is bathed in color.
Pro-Travel Tips for Getting to Your Dream Travel Destination
Many people assume that they can’t possibly get to their dream destination because the flights are too expensive. And when those flights have to be booked for multiple family members, airfare quickly becomes the most costly portion of your budget.
Next Vacay has always believed that expensive flights should never stand in the way of traveling to your dream destination, whether you’re planning your next great solo adventure or a family trip you’ll remember for years to come.
That’s why we’ve put together a system and a team to find you the best deals to dream vacation spots worldwide.
When a Next Vacay deal makes its way into your inbox, it’s already been vetted by a team of experts. Ensuring you’re left with only the best options for reaching your dream destination.
So, the only question left is where will your travels take you? Sign up now and travel to the destinations you dream about with Next Vacay.