From Under-the-Radar Retreats to Rising Cultural Capitals: 2024’s Trending Destinations from Booking.com
31 October, 2023
Traveling reveals the best versions of ourselves that we sometimes don’t get to fully explore at home – and it’s not just a boost in Vitamin D that enables this. Booking.com’s annual Travel Predictions research* found that more than three quarters (78%) of travelers feel more alive than ever on vacation, transporting them out of autopilot and into their best life, whether that’s chilling out (literally) in cooler climes, chasing culture or cycling through the charming curves of unfamiliar city streets.
While the passion and drive for travel is personal, to help people feel the pulse of travel in 2024, Booking.com has delved into global booking trends** to share the top trending destinations for next year. Spin the globe and get ready to raft river rapids, uncover subterranean wonderlands and be spiritually rebirthed with these ten invigorating destinations, each offering something unique to revitalize travelers in 2024.
In 2024, water-centric travel is poised to become the hottest trend in tourism, with the allure of water’s calming embrace and its endless recreational possibilities. For the three quarters (75%) of travelers who agree that being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed, the spa resort city of Beppu along the southern coast of Kyushu island is a must-visit. Nestled between Beppu Bay and dramatic volcanic mountains, the ‘Onsen Capital of Japan’ is home to more natural hot springs than anywhere else in the country. Visitors looking to immerse themselves in Japanese bathing culture can replenish in nutrient-rich water, sand, steam and even mud baths, or head to the ‘Hells of Beppu,’ a collection of eight spectacular geothermal springs from hot bubbling mud to a geyser shooting off every 30 minutes. Providing an otherworldly backdrop to the steam is Mount Tsurumi, a volcanic mountain accessible via the Beppu Ropeway which boasts panoramic views from the top. For the adventurous traveler, it’s accessible via foot – and soaring 4,510 feet (1,375m) into the sky, be prepared for an invigorating hike. Top tip: head to Jigoku Mushi where travelers can steam their own food using kama, Japanese vats heated by the onsen waters for a unique dining experience.
Where to stay: Set in the enchanting hills of Beppu, the family-run Terrace Midoubaru is an authentic stay with its own secluded onsen. Overlooking the steaming city, every room in this soothing design-led inn comes with an open-air bath and private terrace, enveloped by breathtaking views. Guests can sink into super comfy futon beds at night, while neutral and wooden interiors will evoke a sense of inner peace and tranquility for a rejuvenating stay. Beppu’s attractions are spread all across the city and are best explored by rental car or bus.Search Hotels in Beppu
The jewel of the Balkans, Albania is the trending beach escape for 2024 due to its azure waters, impressive mountains and affordability for all types of travelers. Tucked away in the southwest is the underrated seaside gem of Vlorë, the starting point of the Albanian Riviera and a great base for road trips to explore up and down this sunny coast. Home to some of Albania’s most beautiful beaches, the glistening shoreline provides visitors with Europe’s answer to the Maldives – a welcome option for the 43% of travelers who will be searching for luxe-for-less copycat vacations to reduce costs. By day, visitors can stroll along the palm tree-lined promenade, revive in Narta Lagoon, or enjoy a boat trip to the small but stunning Bay of Grama. By night, this historic city comes alive in the vibrant old town bustling with boutique shops and eateries. Vlorë is also emerging as a culinary destination: foodies will savor the taste of Italy just a hop across the Adriatic, which blesses the local cuisine with fresh seafood the star of the show. For a day trip, head to Tirana, a two-hour drive north, for an Albanian Cooking Class to immerse in local traditions and make tavë kosi (tender lamb baked with rice in a spiced yogurt sauce) – an emblematic dish and soul food at its finest.
Where to stay: Positioned right on a private crescent-shaped cove, the incredible Inn Hotel offers guests exclusive beach access and complimentary sun loungers. Laidback beach chic is the vibe, and this Booking.com Travel Sustainable property encourages guests to reconnect with nature through its verdant greenery and rooms that echo the surrounding seascape – all with balconies overlooking the Adriatic for the ultimate renewal. Guests won’t want to miss the delicious traditional and Italian fare served al fresco in the hotel gardens.Search Hotels in Vlorë
Famed for its tropical rainforests and spiritual beliefs, there’s something about Mérida that draws travelers searching for soul-stirring experiences. Perfect for those wanting to find peace and healing in an ever-hectic world, visitors can explore the ancient wisdom and culture of the Mayans. Breathe new life into the day-to-day with a Mayan birth chart reading in town or partake in a Temazcal Healing Ceremony Experience, a therapeutic ancestral steam bath for physical and spiritual rebirth. Mérida is within driving distance to many of the sacred ruins in Yucatán, and the colorful capital provides a great base to discover Chichén Itzá, an ancient archeological site. A Chichen Itza and Cenote Tour includes round-trip transport to discover this UNESCO World Heritage site, and the impressive sinkholes formed by collapsed caverns where travelers can take a refreshing dip in crystal-clear water. For the three in five (61%) who want to learn more about the origins of ‘must-eat’ delicacies on vacation in 2024, a Street Food Walking Tour is sure to spark the senses with a gastronomic adventure, tasting local flavors such as cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) and panuchos (spicy stuffed tortillas).
Where to stay: Set in landscaped gardens, the romantic Casa Lecanda Boutique Hotel is a luxe Neoclassical villa located close to the heart of Mérida. The therapeutic stay offers a variety of services from pampering spa treatments to healing yoga sessions and a stylish wine and tequila bar. Guests can channel the best versions of themselves at this Booking.com Travel Sustainable property, where palm trees dot leafy courtyards, and which offers activities run by local guides including fantastic Mexican cooking classes run by the onsite chef.Search Hotels in Mérida
Portland, Oregon, United States
The slogan ‘Keep Portland Weird’ encapsulates the quirky and open-minded nature of Oregon’s largest city which embraces local communities and regenerative experiences – ideal for the 60% of travelers who want to see sustainability in action in 2024. Celebrated as one of the greenest cities in the US, this stimulating city is known for its cutting-edge sustainable architecture such as the Natural Capital Center which has floors made out of recycled rubber tires. Portlanders embrace the FLOSS lifestyle: Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal and Sustainable, thanks to the many farm-to-table restaurants, zero waste markets and eco-friendly cafes the city has to offer, guaranteed to perk up mindful travelers. Cycling is a fantastic way to zip around, with a 315-mile (507 km) matrix of bicycle lanes that run through leafy parks and vibrant gardens. For nature lovers, a Columbia River Gorge Hiking Tour offers an energizing guided trek through this impressive gorge to stunning waterfalls. For those seeking a slice of luxury, a Downtown Champagne Brunch Cruise along the Willamette River includes live entertainment against a backdrop of the city skyline and snow-capped Mount Hood with unlimited bubbles.
Where to stay: In the creative neighborhood of Kerns, the Tiny Digs - Hotel of Tiny Houses promotes Portland’s weird and wonderful attitude to life. Individually-themed cabins and quirky miniature houses are within walking distance of bike rental shops and cafes serving the city’s famous donuts for the ultimate sugar hit. Welcoming every traveler with open arms, this niche accommodation is not only a Booking.com certified Travel Proud stay, but also offers pet-friendly cabins to ensure furry companions can come along for the ride too – ideal for the 39% considering taking their pet on vacation in 2024 to save money on pet sitting at home.Search Hotels in Portland
There’s significantly more to the Netherlands than its lively, (in)famous capital, and the pretty city of Valkenburg in the province of Limburg will reinvigorate any visitor. Although lovely all year round, travelers can truly step into a festive fairytale in the winter here, perfect for the 56% who want to use their vacation to enjoy cooler climes in 2024. This adorable city is famed for its marlstone caves, including the Velvet Cave that dates back to the Middle Ages and is made up of secret escape routes connected to Valkenburg Castle. Today, the annual Christmas market is hosted in this maze of enchanting passageways where visitors can experience an underground wonderland with glittering fairy lights, miniature villages and stalls selling must-try waffles smothered in melted chocolate. Above ground, a Walking Tour with a Self-guided City Trail lets visitors solve riddles to reveal quaint castles and city walls, while the magnificent South Limburg Steam Train is an authentic way to discover the undulating scenery from the comfort of a cozy carriage. Especially beloved by local Dutch travelers seeking a revitalizing escape, the unusually hilly landscape in the surrounding area makes for excellent hiking and biking in the summer months – and the city is only a short drive to the gourmet delights of Maastricht.
Where to stay: Château St. Gerlach, nestled in the Geul Valley and just a short drive or train ride outside the city, offers a grand country-chic stay in a former 15th-century monastery. In summer, guests can delight in lush herb gardens, a delightful vineyard and fragrant rose gardens. Come winter, cozy up by the fireplace in the bar, or head to the heated pool and Turkish steam bath. Luxury extends to the restaurant where this Booking.com Travel Sustainable hotel uses golden honey from its beehives and vegetables from its gardens. A visit to the church adorned with fresco paintings off the extensive hotel grounds is highly recommended.Search Hotels in Valkenburg
Buenos Aires, Argentina
A new crop of chefs and restaurateurs pioneering fresh culinary concepts is breathing new life into Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital city. Foodies heading to Buenos Aires are in for a treat in 2024 with new-wave Michelin-star restaurants serving Argentine fare with futuristic twists, bustling street-food strips in backstreet alleys, trendy vegan bakeries and a resurgence of authentic indigenous dishes. Head to the artsy neighborhoods of La Boca or El Caminito for steak cooked on an asado, a traditional open-fire grill that perfectly barbecues meat, followed by dulce de leche, an indulgent caramel sauce used to make alfajores (local shortbread cookies). Buenos Aires is famed for its fine food, fine wine and fine arts, fueled by a heady mix of flamboyant street art and samba. Latin passion aside, this electric city has lots to see and do and much of it is free; from a score of art museums to the ruggedly beautiful Reserva Ecológica home to hundreds of butterflies, turtles and iguanas – leaving visitors with more money to enjoy steaks big enough to share, all washed down with a smooth glass of Malbec.
Where to stay: In the trendy Puerto Madero neighborhood, Hotel Madero Buenos Aires boasts a revitalizing rooftop spa with panoramic views – an advantageous spot to soak up the famous fiery sunsets in this flat city. What’s more, this Booking.com certified Travel Proud stay offers a welcome that will uplift every guest that walks through its door, and a complimentary cocktail from the comfort of their private balconies. As conscientious about its guests as it is the environment, the hotel has also been recognized with a Booking.com Travel Sustainable badge and serves locally sourced dishes from chargrilled steak to zingy fresh seafood and vegetarian options, while its extensive wine cellar is stocked with the very best Buenos Aires has to offer.Search Hotels in Buenos Aires
The under-the-radar city of Chemnitz is a destination to keep an eye on in 2024. Steeped in culture and history yet often overshadowed by neighboring cities Dresden and Leipzig, the spotlight will be on this named European Capital of Culture for 2025, which is gearing up with celebrations across the city next year. In a region already packed with hilltop castles and flamboyant baroque palaces, expect large-scale exhibitions showcasing sculptures, Romantic-era paintings, textiles and crafts, along with a string of enlivening music and arts festivals. Theatergoers can get in on the act with the ballet, symphonic concerts and even a puppet show thanks to an overflowing program at the century-old Theatre Chemnitz. This city was the center of events during some of the most decisive points in European history, and a Walking Tour will ignite visions of days past, from the colossal 43-foot (13m) bronze sculpture of Karl Marx to the oldest landmark, the Red Tower. Situated at the gates of the Ore Mountains and referred to as the ‘Cradle of Christmas,’ travelers can rent a car for a 45-minute drive into this epic mountain range that transforms into a spectacular snowy wonderland come winter.
Where to stay: Housed in a stately redbrick building, the industrial-chic Alexxanders Hotel & Boardinghouse is located in the center of Chemnitz within walking distance of iconic landmarks such as the Karl Marx monument. The rich industrial history of the city and nearby nature were the inspiration behind the design of this hotel, which also has a Booking.com Travel Sustainable badge for its considerable efforts towards sustainability from displaying the work of inspirational local artists to investing revenue back into community projects.
Rotorua, New Zealand
Pristine lakes and rivers, dramatic volcanic landscapes, and adrenaline-packed adventures await visitors to this remarkable city in the North Island of New Zealand. Set on the southern shore of its namesake lake, Rotorua is renowned for its steaming geysers, bubbling mud pools and indigenous Māori culture, all sure to invigorate visitors. This geothermal wonderland has something to offer those chasing the water-centric trend in 2024, whether it’s rejuvenating in the natural hot springs (the Wai-O-Tapu sacred waters are spectacular), or relishing an exhilarating activity such as White-water Sledging on Kaituna River. For travelers wanting to experience it all, the Rotorua City and Lakes Tour offers a trip around the city’s landmarks, native forests and crater lakes, with the chance to ride a landing craft for thrilling splashdowns onto the water. Vibrant in history and culture, immerse in the traditional customs and practices of the Māori people with a visit to Tamaki Māori Village, just a short drive from Rotorua, where visitors can enjoy incredible cultural performances and traditional hāngi feasts (steam cooked banquets) – ideal for the 81% who want to try indigenous cuisine on vacation in 2024.
Where to stay: For lake-edge living at its best, Koura Lodge is a high-end B&B with refined rooms, each with a private veranda overlooking Lake Rotorua without a whiff of the city’s sulfur-rich air. This peaceful Booking.com Travel Sustainable property offers a locally sourced breakfast with vegan options served in the lawn-to-lake native gardens, and a range of activities led by local guides including a pulse-racing plane ride to explore Rotorua’s dynamic scenery from above – with pickup from the lodge’s private jetty.Search Hotels in Rotorua
Panglao is a tiny tropical island in the Bohol Sea, famed for its white sandy beaches, world-class diving locations and abundance of outdoor activities. Positioned as the Philippines’ greenest destination, the island boasts an eco-friendly airport, activities that respect the environment and South Farm, a new 22-acre (9-hectare) site that provides organic produce to hotels and showcases local crafts and culture, from farming and fishing to weaving. This hidden gem is a slice of paradise, and ideal for travelers who want to enjoy the replenishing natural wonders of laidback island life while preserving its ecological integrity. The most popular resort on the island is Alona Beach, known for its lively nightlife, or its more mellow neighbor Danao Beach is lined with coconut palms and the promise of smaller crowds. Beyond reviving on pristine beaches, travelers can use Panglao as a base to explore nearby islands: the Bohol Island-hopping Tour introduces visitors to two beautiful islands and the waters of Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary where they can discover underwater gardens, and even spot dolphins.
Where to stay: Take pleasure in sustainable, laid-back island life at Amarela Resort, a destination in itself, and just a short drive to both Alona and Danao Beach. Guests can lounge around in a hammock on the private beach, or relax poolside with a book from the resort’s library. The restaurant at this Booking.com Travel Sustainable getaway serves local delicacies using fresh ingredients from its own herb garden, while traditional woodwork and Philippine art lets guests absorb local culture while giving artists a platform to display their talents.Search Hotels in Panglao
For travelers looking for a destination that will truly make them feel alive in 2024, Cairns is a tropical playground for thrilling adventure. Its bustling backpacker scene and strip of open-air night markets and waterfront bars is the heartbeat of this thriving coastal city located on the northernmost part of Queensland and the gateway to two UNESCO World Heritage sites – the iconic Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest. A Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Trip lets travelers cruise aboard a luxe superyacht and dive to discover a magical world of vivid fish, corals and marine life – with the option to add a mindblowing helicopter flight over the reef to round off the experience. To really raise the pulse, travelers can tick the bucket list and brave an exhilarating Skydiving Experience in Cairns, jumping from a height of 15,000 ft (4,500m) along with a professional tandem jump master. Back on land, book a Cape Tribulation and Daintree Rainforest Tour to explore amazing pockets of biodiversity with an expert naturist from eucalypt woodlands to native birds, the spellbinding Mossman Gorge and the palm-fringed beaches of Cape Tribulation.
Where to stay: The Cairns Rainforest Retreat offers a unique treehouse nestled in the rainforest with mountain views, an exciting stay for those with a love of nature and a desire to reawaken their inner child – with all the luxuries of a hotel. Just a short drive from the spirited action in Cairns, guests will appreciate the shared rooftop pool, barbecue facilities and firepit that will spark socializing. What’s more, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable B&B offers a stellar breakfast, serving locally sourced, organic food and makes efforts to reduce its food wastage.Search Hotels in Cairns
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