Destinations Travel Experts Return To Again And Again
Travel lovers typically strive to visit as many different places in the world as they can. But some destinations are so special that even the most adventurous travelers can’t help but return again and again.
Whether a place possesses breathtaking landscapes, a rich history, unbeatable cuisine, welcoming locals or all of the above, there are many reasons why it might draw repeat visitors. And a wide variety of locales can fit the bill.
We asked experts in the travel space to share the places they’ve returned to again and again. Keep scrolling for 23 countries, cities, islands and other types of destinations to inspire your next vacation.
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“The place I return to over and over again is Colombia,” said Claire Summers, the travel blogger behind Claire’s Itchy Feet. “There is just something about it that keeps pulling me back.”
She believes it’s the most beautiful country in the world, in part thanks to its rich biological diversity.
“So no matter how much time I spend there, every new place I visit feels like a whole new country,” Summers explained. “From the vibrant cities like Medellin and Cali to the music-filled streets of Caribbean coast. You can be hiking in the mountains one moment then floating down the river into the sea the next."
The nightlife is another draw, with ample opportunities for salsa dancing.
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“Romania isn’t only a travel destination for me ― it’s like a second home,” said Erick Prince, a travel blogger and founder of Minority Nomad. “Romania maintains a deeply Romanian identity, rejecting many of the mass tourism tropes that plague other destinations.”
Although you’ll find international travelers in places like Bucharest and parts of Transylvania, he noted that much of the country is largely tourist-free, especially up north.
“This allows travelers to have an authentic experience that can be truly educational,” Prince said. “Experiencing Romania in the best way possible requires local help, so open yourself up to being uncomfortable. Maybe take Romanian language classes. When Romanian people like you, they’ll tend to adopt you.”
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As a travel blogger, Isabel Leong believes Bali is an ideal destination due to its booming digital nomad culture and the variety of fellow travelers who visit from around the world.
“I’ve been back in 2023, 2022, 2017 and 2012,” she said. “It used to be a booming beach destination years ago, making it an easy trip for family travelers, which I did as a family. Then, the Bali cafe scene started sprouting up due to the influence of Australians coming to Bali, which made for another good reason to visit and go cafe-hopping!”
Alyssa Ramos, the blogger behind My Life’s A Travel Movie, is also a fan of the Indonesian island.
“Bali seems like a stereotypical answer, but I can’t deny that I love it,” she said. “The mixture of Indonesian culture with Western business is truly just something else.”
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“I’ve never seen such abundant wildlife and nature as I have in Costa Rica,” Leong said. “Costa Rica has 27 separate national parks, 58 refuges for wildlife or sanctuaries, 32 protected zones and 19 forest or biological reserves, even though they’re not a large country.”
Although she’s visited twice and even did a seven-day road trip around Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, there’s still much of the country left for her to explore, including many species of overland and underwater animals.
“I spent most of my time in Tamarindo and have grown fond of the laid-back, carefree vibes of this beach town,” Leong added.
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“Again and again, we return to Edinburgh, a city dripping with history, romance, beauty, inspiration and amazing food,” said Travelmax CEO Simone Collins, who got married and spent part of her honeymoon in the Scottish capital.
She touted the city’s rich arts history, from Adam Smith to the "Harry Potter" series, which offers lots of inspiration to travelers looking for a place for work remotely for a bit.
“Don’t miss afternoon tea at the Signet Library, a gorgeous Edwardian law library just off St. Giles Cathedral and consider staying in one of the historic buildings right on the Royal Mile, which offers both budget-conscious Airbnbs as well as truly luxurious boutique hotels like The Witchery,” Collins added.
She also recommended leaving time for scenic walks around Holyrood Palace, Dean Village and New Town. Don’t forget to try the haggis as well.
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“Vermont, home of the Green Mountains, is one of those unsung states full of natural beauty and activities year-round,” said Judy Gauthier, senior vice president of destination and partnership development at Go City. “The main draw are the mountains and national parks that provide stunning foliage, endless hiking trails, and some of the Northeast’s best ski slopes.”
She also pointed to the beautiful lakes for kayaking and enjoying quiet time on the water and her favorite private campground with family-friendly “glamping” cabins.
“There are lots of destinations that I enjoy visiting because they are ever-changing and energetic, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Vermont because it grounds me and recharges my spirit,” Gauthier said.
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“There are both tangible and intangible qualities about South Africa that continue to reel me in,” said travel journalist Travis Levius. “South Africa’s lure, for me, stems from both the tangible and intangible.”
He pointed to the delicious food (particularly for meat lovers), local wine, deep house and amapiano music scene, stunning natural beauty and great prices.
“Then there’s the people you meet, full of effervescence and openness, and I feel this invisible embrace upon arrival each and every time,” Levius said. “Even with its problems and issues, like any other country endures, South Africa remains magnetic.”
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“I haven’t traveled all of Thailand, but I am yet to find a place there that I don’t like,” said Annette Richmond, creator of Fat Girls Traveling. “I spent a few years bouncing around Southeast Asia when I first started working remotely. Thailand was always the place I returned to, it felt like home.”
Perhaps the biggest draw for Richmond is the country’s distinctive food culture.
“In Bangkok, you can find an upscale restaurant still open for business at 2 a.m.,” she said. “Here you will also find a street food vendor, Jay Fai, making the crab omelets that made her one of only two Michelin-starred street-food stalls in the world.”
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“Every time I visit a new city in Mexico, I feel like it’s a whole new country,” said Gabby Beckford, a travel expert and founder of Packs Light. “Beaches in Quintana Roo, beautiful mountains in Oaxaca, waterfalls in Hidalgo. It’s the 13th-largest country in the world, but it has the most diverse landscapes I’ve seen from any country.”
In addition to the beautiful diversity of landscape, it’s Mexico’s food, people and culture that have drawn Beckford back at least 10 times over the past two years.
“Riviera Maya in Mexico, specifically Playa del Carmen and Tulum, are destinations I have been frequenting for years,” Ramos said. “Their close proximity to the U.S., the energizing atmosphere and people, the sense of strong culture, and of course, beautiful nature, affordable pricing, and delicious foods, all makes it a paradise to me. So much so that I bought an apartment there!”
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Go City’s chief commercial officer Laurence Miall d’Août is a fan of the popular windsports destination Tarifa in southern Spain.
“The natural beauty, richness of experience, and excellent food and wines keep me coming back,” he said. “Not to mention the warmth and kindness of the locals. I love Tarifa to bits. I have been there over 10 times in the last 20 years, and I am never disappointed. It’s a destination you get to enjoy at all ages, and I love that my children grew up to love it as much as I do. As long as you love the wind, this is paradise.”
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Travel blogger Kerwin McKenzie is a fan of Honolulu, Hawaii, for its immaculate weather and beautiful beaches.
“Plus hiking up to Diamond Head and enjoying that view of Waikiki is unparalleled,” he said. “It’s also fun watching the surfers and the sailboats ― very calming.”
The juicy and delicious pineapples are another big draw for the fruit fan.
“I think the main reasons why people return to a destination are the people, the food and how safe they feel,” he said. “If one feels safe in a place, you tend to want to return as you’re just not worried when you go. Plus when the food is good, you just eat your way through the city.”
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“I have been visiting Japan regularly since I was a child, and I continue to return to Tokyo and other Japanese cities every year on average,” said travel expert and author La Carmina. “I feel creatively invigorated every time I return to immerse myself in the underground events such as drag shows, Harajuku fashion walks, and Gothic club nights.”
She enjoys shopping at local boutiques, dining at conveyer belt sushi restaurants and experiencing new pop culture attractions like the Sailor Moon Museum as well.
Beckford has also made repeated visits to Japan since she used to live there as a child.
“I go back to eat authentic Japanese food, explore the smaller towns, and because I also love the diverse landscapes Japan has to offer,” she said. “Who knew a small island nation could have deserts, great skiing and world-class scuba diving? Japan has something new to discover every time I visit.”
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Greece is the word. With thousands of gorgeous islands and islets and impressive cities rich with history, the Mediterranean country is an obvious return destination.
“I was first there in 2015 visiting Santorini and Milos, and then again in 2022 to Corfu, Tinos, Mykonos, Naxos, Delphi and Meteora,” Leong said. “There is so much to explore! Apart from the turquoise clear waters that the Greek waters are so famous for, it is also a country steeped with history and culture. Aristotle should be enough to convince you of that.”
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“Turkey is easily at the top of my list of most-visited travel destinations,” Prince said. “Turkey checks off a lot of the things that I look for in a great travel destination: diversity of activities, delicious cuisine, friendly and engaging locals and beautiful landscapes and sites. From Istanbul to Kayseri, you’ll find a wide range of fantastic experiences.”
Prince believes Turkey makes for an excellent last-minute getaway and loves returning because the sites rarely feel overly crowded, prices tend not to go up too much and the weather is manageable.
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“India is yet another destination I find myself in repeatedly, despite the beautiful chaos one must endure to be there,” Ramos said, speaking to the crowds, long journey and overwhelming number of sites and adventures to take in. “It’s simply a place where culture, food, sites, and experiences blend together all at once and launch themselves at you for an explosion of an experience again and again.”
Historic palaces, delicious eateries, bustling cities and scenic coastlines are among the vast array of experiences on offer.
“There’s also so many different areas to explore!” Ramos added. “Similar to the United States where every state is completely different, so are the states and regions of India!”
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“I will be visiting France for the fifth time in November,” said Dr. Nadeen White, who runs the travel blog The Sophisticated Life. “I love all the places I have visited there, including Bordeaux and the French Riviera. But Paris is at the top of my list. Paris is alluring and sexy. It is sophisticated, full of culture and culinary delights. You can spend days exploring the beautiful art and architecture or simply sit at sidewalk cafes sipping wine, chatting and people-watching.”
She recommended spending the day exploring the cobblestoned streets and art scene in Montmartre and strolling along the Seine at night to take in the “City of Lights.”
“Paris is also a multicultural destination which includes La Goutte d’Or in the 18th arrondissement, which is also known as Little Africa,” White said. “I look forward to returning to this area on future visits to learn more about African culture in Paris as well as eating and shopping.”
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The United Arab Emirates
“The United Arab Emirates is a very convenient and often required layover flying from the United States into the Middle East, Asia or Australia,” Beckford said. “Because of it’s convenience I’ve been a few times, and so I’ve been able to explore all of its emirates.”
Although the UAE is famous for its large cities, Beckford said she was surprised to find a peaceful quiet there. This sense of calm and the deep friendships she’s formed have drawn her back to the destination repeatedly.
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Ambergris Caye, Belize
“I have been to Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island, three times and counting and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere,” said Dana Studebaker, VP of marketing for consumer brands at Apple Leisure Group.
She recommended renting a golf cart to explore all the island has to offer.
“Caye Caulker is just a short ferry ride and is even more remote and laid-back, a great place to spend the afternoon,” Studebaker added. “Also, Ambergris Caye has some great dining and there is nothing like experiencing the Great Blue Hole from a four-seater plane.”
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London, England, tends to draw tourists from around the world for royal events like weddings and coronations, but the capital city has so much to offer year-round.
“I enjoy the atmosphere, the people and the food ― especially pasty as they remind me of Jamaican beef patties,” McKenzie said. “The city is also easy to walk and has many great sites to see ― many bridges and monuments and parks. There is also very efficient ground transportation in the form of buses and trains.”
He also appreciates visiting the many museums, spending time parks like St. James and people-watching around Piccadilly Circus. McKenzie also recommended checking out the calming and picturesque English countryside.
“I’ve been to London at least a dozen times,” said Gary Loupassakis, author of “Go Dat Way and Go Dere: Around the World in Fifty Years.” “It’s my favorite city in the world. As a history major I can’t get enough of it. There’ a chair in Westminster Abbey that’s hundreds of years old which is only used for a king’s or queen’s coronation ― so it’s been 70 years since its last use.”
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The box office success of 2018′s “Crazy Rich Asians” helped open many people’s eyes to all that the island country of Singapore has to offer.
“Singapore is one of the few places I’ve traveled to multiple times,” said Axel Hefer, CEO of Trivago. “It is the starting point of our vacations in Asia, and also a place where some of my old friends still live.”
Even if you don’t have friends to visit, he recommended at least making a stopover trip to Singapore to enjoy the famous food culture and unique vibe of the island.
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“I have to admit it’s a bit cliche, but Italy is always a great idea,” Ramos said. “Recently I’ve been exploring more and more of Italy, past the trending Instagram photos and videos, and into lesser-known areas, and it always ceases to amaze me.”
Of course, destinations like Positano and Rome are popular for good reason, but the beauty of Italy lies in its seemingly endless supply of culturally rich cities and villages across the country.
“My current favorite little seaside town is called Castellammare del Golfo,” Ramos said. “The small town with cobblestone streets boasts plenty of delicious local restaurants, and there’s a small boat port where we set off for a leisurely day trip along the crystal clear-blue waters that bring you up to hidden coves and beaches.”
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Richmond is a big fan of Malaysia and its unique mosaic of Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures and customs.
“Kuala Lumpur is fun because it gives you the variety of a city and the unique cultural sites of a small town,” she said. “Speaking of small towns, Penang is one of my absolute favorite getaways in Malaysia. In this UNESCO city, you’ll find a mix of jungle and beach. Walking around the city you’ll find street art everywhere you turn. There’s no lack of cute cafes with amazing live performances and unique and delicious eats.”
Richmond also praised Malaysia’s sense of innovation and “surprise factor.”
“Asia is ahead of the curve when it comes to technology,” she said. “However, I’ve found this to be true with hospitality, nightlife and so much more.”
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Turks and Caicos
“I love Turks and Caicos and have been several times,” Studebaker said. “It has the most beautiful beaches and water in the Caribbean.”
Whether you’re looking to snorkel and scuba dive or check out the above-ground wildlife, there are plenty of opportunities to appreciate the natural beauty of these islands.
“Turks and Caicos has a laid-back, but upscale vibe that includes some great dining options ranging from Roosters TFC food truck to fine dining, and some really nice beachfront bars and restaurants,” Studebaker added.