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24 for 2024: 24 of the Top Tours and Activities to Enjoy This Year

Wondering what to do and where to go in 2024? Here are 24 of the top tours and activities to enjoy in ‘24.

person surrounded by vietnamese lanterns in hoi an, vietnam
Hi, I'm Elen!

Elen is a writer and editor based in the small city of Nelson, on New Zealand's South Island. Her work focuses on travel, arts, culture, and the humanities. When not working, she likes to explore one of the three national parks on her doorstep.

New year, new opportunities to tweak that travel bucket list and fill it with fresh recommendations. Travel planning doesn’t have to be all about throwing a dart at a fast-spinning globe and seeing where it lands. Instead, leave nothing to chance, and choose from some of the most exciting, colorful, interesting, and delicious tours from our top 24 destinations for 2024.

From winter safaris in Wyoming to cool summer days in Juneau, lantern-making in Vietnam to an Indigenous-inspired cooking class in Mexico, your travels in 2024 are looking bright.

1. Haute cuisine in Quebec City, Canada

Established by the French in the early 17th century, Quebec City oozes European charm and is an especially tantalizing foodie hot spot. Learn more about Quebec City’s history and culture through its cuisine on a tour that includes just the right balance of sightseeing and food sampling. Visit some of Quebec City’s top restaurants and receive one course and a drink at each. In between gastro-stops, visit the Royal Square, the Petit Champlain District, the Old Quebec Funicular, and other highlights.

2. Ride a horse-drawn carriage through Charleston, South Carolina

If the old mansions and lush gardens of Charleston—one of the hottest historical places to visit in 2024—weren’t already enough to transport you back to the city’s past, riding a horse-drawn carriage will. Give your feet a rest and relax in the shade of your canopied carriage as a dignified Belgian or Percheron draft horse pulls you through the city streets on an hour-long ride. Your guide will narrate Charleston’s history along the way, so this is a great introduction to the city.

3. Beat the heat in Juneau, Alaska

Alaska may conjure images of frozen snowy landscapes but come summer, you may be glad of the cooler climes of the north (and it’s not that cold in southern Alaska in summer anyway). Whether you’re visiting Juneau independently or on a cruise, a private rainforest and waterfalls hike is a great way to experience Alaska’s landscape and learn more about this unique, threatened ecosystem. You’ll even get up close to the Mendenhall Glacier and may see local wildlife, such as black bears, American bald eagles, and salmon.

4. Nothing weird about an Austin, Texas food tour

Proudly bucking most stereotypes about the Lone Star state, Austin has (almost) as many hipster hangouts as Brooklyn and more queso than you could shake a nacho at. Eat your way through Austin’s historic area on a walking tour, so you can at least burn off a few calories along the way. Sample local favorites such as barbecue brisket, breakfast tacos, and flan cheesecake while listening to stories about how Austin is staying weird.

5. Go on snowy safari in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Skiing isn’t the only way to enjoy the snowy winter landscape of Wyoming. Whether you’re looking for après-ski activities or just visiting the national parks and mountains in winter, a safari is a great way to explore the Grand Teton National Park from Jackson Hole. Look out for deer, elk, bison, eagles, and wolves (among many other species) in the national park, then visit the National Elk Refuge for a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the enormous wild elk herd living here. The only thing missing is Santa Claus.

6. Make your own lantern in Hoi An, Vietnam

The colorful lanterns strung up around the streets of Hoi An are a beautiful sight, especially after dark. But instead of just buying a ready-made one as a souvenir of your trip to Vietnam, why not get crafty and make your own? The colorful lanterns are believed to bring happiness, luck, and wealth, so channel your creative energies well and you might reap the benefits for years to come. Choose a design and colored silk to suit your style and make a lantern with expert guidance.

7. Steppe up in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

If you’re tired of over-touristed places, Mongolia’s fascinating capital could be your next dream off-the-beaten-path destination. Ulaanbaatar is an increasingly modern city and a gateway to the grasslands, deserts, and national parks of Central Mongolia. A guided multi-day tour starting and ending in the capital is an easy way to visit many natural and cultural attractions, including Khustain Nuruu National Park, Erdene Zuu Monastery, and more.

8. Take a break from the beaches of Goa, India

You’ll probably visit Goa for the beaches, and that’s fair: From yogis to trance partiers to families, there’s something for everyone. But when you need to rise from your beach towel and work off those feni coladas or mango lassis, take a tour of the small state’s cultural and historic highlights. Learn more about Goa’s Portuguese history at the UNESCO–listed churches of Old Goa, 17th-century Fort Aguada, and the cobblestone streets of Panaji, the sleepy Iberian-ish capital.

9. Feel the doppelganger vibes in Taipei, Taiwan

If you’re looking for an East Asian megacity with a wealth of culture plus fewer tourists and lower prices than Seoul, South Korea, then Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, should be on your travel bucket list in 2024. With fabulous architecture, ornate temples, funky night markets, and fascinating museums there’s a lot to see and do in Taipei. A customizable private tour is a good way to explore the city, especially if you and Mandarin aren’t on speaking terms.

10. Get acquainted with Turkish wine in Izmir, Turkey

Turkey has a wine-making tradition older than Christianity, and it’s one of the largest grape producers in the world. Coastal regions produce the most wine, and the area around Izmir is a handy place to begin your travels through Turkish wine country (not least because Izmir is also a gateway to Aegean beaches and the ancient ruins at Ephesus). Take a guided tour along the Urla Wine Route to see wine being produced and to enjoy a sample … or three.

11. Hike in underappreciated Albania

Explore this gem of a European destination before it goes mainstream and experience beautiful landscapes and cultures that rival those of Albania’s neighbors, Italy to the west and Croatia to the south. A moderate guided hike to Lake Bovilla and Mount Gamti, starting from capital Tirana, is an ideal way to get a taste of Albania’s mountainous landscape while adding some adventure travel to 2024.

12. Say “prost” to Berlin, Germany

Heading to the Euros in Berlin this summer? Take time to get to know the hosts of the soccer tournament on a local-led tour. Berlin is famous for its beer, so there’s hardly a better way to sample the local favorites while making new friends than on a guided craft beer and food tour. You’ll get to taste a range of traditional and more modern, innovative brews, paired with hearty snacks to keep you full.

13. Go to great depths to avoid other tourists in Edinburgh, Scotland

While Edinburgh is the second-most popular tourist destination in the UK (after London), it’s totally possible to visit the capital of Scotland without rubbing shoulders with too many other tourists … by heading deep underground. Once you’ve seen the surface-level highlights, follow your guide on an underground trail through ancient vaults and tunnels beneath the Old Town. Step off the main tourist circuit for a while and learn about parts of Edinburgh’s history that you might otherwise miss.

14. Come sail away in Malta

Italy, Greece, and Spain may be the first places that come to mind if you’re contemplating a sun-soaked Mediterranean summer getaway. But don’t overlook little Malta. A catamaran tour is a laid-back way of getting acquainted with the sparkling blue seas and rocky coastlines of the Maltese islands. Grab a snorkel and dive on in, or lounge on deck or on the nets overlooking the water.

15. Explore the flavors of Bologna, Italy

Want to learn how the bolognesi make spaghetti bolognese? The northern Italian city has long been a firm foodie favorite, but to really get to the heart of this culinary powerhouse you’ll need to step off the street and behind closed doors. A factory tour of some of Bologna’s finest food producers is an ideal way to learn more. Sample local cheese, prosciutto, vinegar, wine, and more before falling into a pleasant postprandial stupor.

16. Adore the affordable Azores, Portugal

One of the hottest budget travel tips of 2024 is simply to swap out costly destinations for somewhere cheaper. If Hawaii’s on your bucket list but you can’t justify the expense—especially from the eastern US—then check out Portugal’s more affordable Azores (aka the “Hawaii of the Atlantic”) instead. Aside from excellent surfing opportunities, you can explore the beautiful scenery of the Azores on a canyoning adventure in the Ribeira dos Caldeirões Natural Park.

17. Squee at baby elephants in Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya is one of the OG safari destinations, and many visitors land in Nairobi before heading out to the plains. But even if (metaphorical) hunting for the Big Five is your main reason for visiting Kenya, it’s worth hanging around Nairobi for a while. Hop on an early morning tour to the Nairobi National Park to look for animals in a safari vehicle. Then, head to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to meet mini elephants, and finally to the Giraffe Centre to learn about these long-legged-and-lashed friends.

18. Hang with the pharaohs in Aswan, Egypt

Egypt’s Giza Pyramids may be more iconic (and accessible from Cairo), but the UNESCO–listed Abu Simbel Temples in southern Egypt are just as fascinating and archaeologically important—and less busy. Visit the rock-hewn temples guarded by colossal statues on an overland day trip from Aswan and learn more about this 3,000-year-old site. You’ll travel to a part of the Egyptian desert that’s near the border with Sudan: It’s an off-the-beaten-path destination that will surely provide one of the most exciting cultural experiences of 2024.

19. Stargaze in the Pinnacles Desert from Perth, Australia

Arriving in Perth, the somewhat far-from-everything capital of Western Australia, feels like rather an achievement. But being one of the most isolated cities in the world has its advantages. The desert skies around Perth are largely free of light pollution, which is good news for stargazers. Spend the day spotting wildlife like kangaroos and koalas in Yanchep National Park, then head to a sunset lookout point over the Pinnacles Desert to see the sun go down and the stars come out.

20. Devilishly good pampering at Hell’s Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand

Don’t mind the smell as you arrive in the central North Island city of Rotorua—it’s entirely natural and not a plumbing failure. You’ll soon get used to the sulfurous scent as you explore the geysers, mud pools, and colorful mineral terraces around the city. The Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park is a handy all-in-one destination, and much more pleasant than it sounds. Take a self-guided tour followed by a natural spa: Slather yourself in mineral-enriched mud then soak in naturally heated sulfur pools.

21. Go off-road in the Caribbean on St. Lucia

St. Lucia has all the natural beauty of its larger neighbors but isn’t (quite) as overtouristed—ideal for off-the-beaten-path tropical adventures without actually having to rough it. After plenty of beach time, head out into the rainforest-covered mountainous interior of St. Lucia on a fun ATV tour. Admire the views, explore farming communities, and enjoy a refreshing stop at Grand Anse Beach.

22. Get high on altitude in the Atacama Desert, Chile

If you’re not afraid of—nay, thrive on—rugged travel you’ll love hiking in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Hike up Cerro Toco, one of the most accessible mountains in the Atacama, to admire views of the desert and the Andes beyond. You’ll start from a high altitude (around 17,000 feet, or 5,200 meters) and will ascend about another 1,300 feet (400 meters), so this trip isn’t for the unprepared, and it’s reassuring to go with a guide. The rewards, however, are worth it.

23. Discover the modern Colombia in Medellín

Medellín has transformed over the last couple of decades to become a city that’s highly worth visiting—in 2024 and beyond. An unmissable day-trip destination from the city is Guatapé, with its colorful streets, serene Guatapé Lake, and impressive Peñol Rock. You’ll have to climb several hundred steps (742, to be precise) to admire the views from the top, but if you manage that you’ll have earned yourself a drink back in Medellín—the city’s famous for its nightlife.

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