Where are the best places to travel in 2024? These are the regions, cities and countries to look to as you plan your trips for the year ahead.
We’re advocates for the travel where you want, when you want school of thought when it comes to booking trips. That said, there are some global events worth travelling for – be they exciting new hotel openings, hot new restaurants, access to extended visas, cultural moments or once-in-a-lifetime events.
Including perennial big-hitters with new places to stay (hello Greece and Paris), easily-accessible second cities (kon’nichiwa, Osaka) and plenty of lesser-explored parts of the world (Uzbekistan, St Helena and Tartu in Estonia to name a few), these destinations have caught our attention this year.
This is Citizen Femme’s list of the best places to travel in 2024 – and the reasons why now is an ideal time to do so.
Imagine a destination so remote that it takes five days to reach, by boat, from South Africa. Until 2017, when the first flights were introduced, this was a reality for St Helena. Mobile phone service was only introduced to the island two years prior, in 2015. Today mobile phone usage and flights into the island are both very much operational – with an increased Airlink flight schedule from Johannesburg set to further serve the island from autumn 2024. But, this small island in the South Atlantic Ocean remains remote, authentic, and largely untouched. It’s a place with a small population – around 4,500 people – but with a whole host of flora and fauna including volcanic terrain, whale sharks during December to March, more than 500 endemic plant and animal species, plus the world’s oldest land animal, Jonathan the Tortoise, who turns 192 this year. Food here is an intriguing mix of cuisines too, influenced by British, African, Chinese, Indian, Portuguese and Dutch flavours. Popular dishes include Sunday roasts, black pudding, fresh fish and fishcakes, curries and pilau. Each served with a St Helena twist.
Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
Something is brewing in South Africa, and it smells like a heady mix of cucumber-infused gin, homemade brandy and coconut rum. Africa’s first biannual cocktail festival, the Ajabu Cocktail + Spirits Festival, will launch in Johannesburg and Cape Town in March 2024, and return to both cities in November. The festival aims to combine global mixology expertise and will feature twenty of the world’s best bartenders from 10 of the world’s best bars. Expect a combination of Africa’s top mixologists – including from Hero in Nairobi and Front/Back in Accra – alongside representation from global bars such as London’s Trailer Happiness and New York’s Milady’s. Continue your South African thirst-quenching adventure with a vineyard tour around its Western Cape or, in Johannesburg, with a stay at Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff, which is just a 10-15 minute drive from family-run winery, Gerakaris. Order the cheese board to pair with your tasting.
There’s a lot of reasons to visit the north of Africa this year, including: the opening of The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) – which is 20 years and a billion dollars in the making – close to the Giza pyramids; southern Tunisia’s new hotel, The Residence Douz, complete with a Clarins spa; and the soon-to-open Four Seasons Hotel Rabat at Kasr Al Bahr, housed inside a restored 18th-century royal residence in Rabat, Morocco – one of the country’s quietly-cool enclaves. Last September, an earthquake 45 miles southwest of Marrakech put a temporary halt to tourism, an industry many people rely on. Less than a month later, much of the city was open again, and encouraging tourists to visit. As Yahya El Aouad, a waiter at IZZA – a new boutique hotel in the Moroccan capital, explained to Citizen Femme, “tourism is so important to Morocco and the city of Marrakech; we count on welcoming visitors again to enable us to rebuild our homes and provide for our families.” And, if you’re looking to give back more than just tourism dollars, consider staying at Peacock Pavilions by Maryam Montague, humanitarian, hotelier and designer, from which she runs Project Soar, a programme that has supported thousands of girls across Morocco, Uganda and Syria, assisting them to negotiate themselves out of child marriage, avoid early motherhood, and engage in dialogues with parliamentarians, ministers and heads of UN agencies.
Sixty years ago, in 1964, Japan debuted its first Shinkansen route, from Tokyo to Osaka. Often referred to as the ‘bullet train’, this high-speed rail network has expanded since the sixties, reaching everywhere from Hakodate in the north to Kagoshima in the far south. Osaka-bound trains from Tokyo take just over two and a half hours to arrive, and depart approximately every 30 minutes. Jump on one to discover a city quite unlike any other in Japan; a place where the rules are less final, the streets are more boisterous and the food is less formal. By night, walk beneath the bright lights of the Dotonbori district, picking up all manner of street food delights as you go. Unlike much of Japan, where eating on-the-go tends to stand somewhere between being frowned upon to forbidden, in Dotonbori it’s encouraged. Here, countless vendors compete for your attention using everything from their voices to larger-than-life plastic depictions of their fare. Extend your bullet-train navigated trip with a quick, 15-minute ride to Kyoto, where Six Senses Kyoto is set to open in early 2024.
Don’t visit if you’re looking for luxury, has long been the advice for those considering Uzbekistan. Do visit if you want to experience a rich culture, where hand-crafted embroidery and ceramics take a backseat only to centre-stage monuments: mosques, mausoleums and madrasas. In 2019, Uzbekistan began offering a visa-free arrival for 90 countries, including those travelling on a British passport. As writer Fahrinisa Campana explained, after visiting for Citizen Femme last year, “since taking office in 2016, Uzbekistan’s first democratically elected president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has spearheaded a massive push to increase tourism to the country.” And it’s worked; in 2019 the once-difficult-to-visit country in Central Asia saw 6.7 million tourists arrive, compared to just 1.9 million in 2015. Post-2020 visitors are steadily increasing with 6.6 million tourists arriving during 2023. With tourism still in its infancy, this is an opportunity to explore a region not yet overly-influenced by the typical tourism tropes. Looking forward, Hilton is taking over three hotels in Samarkand, a five-star hotel is coming to Bukhara (rumoured to be an InterContinental), and Swissôtel Charvak will open close to Tashkent, complete with a spa and three swimming pools. Perhaps, in the Uzbekistan of 2024 and beyond, you can have an authentic experience in luxury, after all.
K-pop has taken over the global music scene and Korean skincare has penetrated almost all corners of the beauty world, but it’s the new digital nomad visa that has us most excited about South Korea in 2024. Launched on 1 January 2024, holders of it will be allowed to stay in some regions of the country for up to two years, even while working for overseas companies. That’s 640 days longer than the previous 90-day visa – plenty of opportunity to learn every word to BTS and BLACKPINK and to navigate your way to a prime skincare regime. You’ll also have lots of time to soak up the country’s history at Gyeongbokgung Palace, a royal palace built in 1395, during the Joseon Dynasty, that has recently been restored and opened to the public for the first time in 110 years. Or, look to the country’s future at the new Seoul Robot & Artificial Intelligence Museum (RAIM), scheduled to open in late 2024. The museum was part-built by robots, and they’ll also be the star of the show inside – leading guided tours and teaching visitors all about, well, robots. And who better to learn about the inner-lives, hopes and dreams (ahem, animatronics) of a robot than from a robot itself.
We included Saudi Arabia in our list of places to visit in 2023 and, thanks to a whole host of new hotels, innovation, infrastructure and growing global interest – it remains steadfast on our 2024 list. Last year, luxury hotels from the likes of Six Senses and St. Regis opened for business, and in 2024 there are many more getting ready to start welcoming tourists. Some of the most exciting for the year ahead include Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and The St. Regis (pictured) in The Red Sea; Four Seasons in Jeddah; and Autograph Collection Hotel in the new, mind-blowing, futuristic city, NEOM. Tour tourism is set to be a big 2024 travel trend and, following decades of a live-music ban in Saudi Arabia which was lifted in 2017, big artists expected to perform here in 2024 include everyone from Wu-Tang Clan to Andrea Bocelli, Backstreet Boys to One Republic. We told you there’s a lot happening in this part of the world – and Saudi Arabia remains a country not only to watch for innovation, but one leading the way.
We’ll always travel for food and this year we have our eyes – or perhaps more accurately, our bellies – set on Lima. This is a city in the foodie spotlight: the Peruvian capital managed to win four spots on the coveted The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2023, the highest number of recognitions for any one city. Top of the list, Central (pictured) is the first ever South American restaurant to claim the number one spot, while other accolades were awarded to Maido (number six), Kjolle (number 28), and Mayta (number 47). From here, it’s a one and a half hour flight to Alejandro Velazco Astete airport, the closest to Machu Picchu, which, as of the 1 January 2024 is also admitting more visitors than in previous years; up to 4,500 visitors per day and up to 5,500 on specific days. Pre-2024 this number was closer to 3,500. If, like us, you’re unsure whether this is in the best interests of the historic site, consider taking the lesser-trodden Quarry Trail which (quite literally) circumnavigates the main route. But with so many dining experiences on offer, you can’t go wrong if you simply stick to eating your way around the country’s capital on your next trip to Peru.
Celebrating 50 years of independence in 2024, Grenada is putting on quite the celebrations throughout January and February including cultural exhibitions, concerts, folk evenings and food festivals – culminating in a Golden Jubilee parade on the 7 February. The festivities are a great excuse to visit but, if you can’t touch down until later in the year, there’s still a lot to be excited about. Silversands Beach House, a 28 room, sister-property to Silversands Grenada is opening in February, while later in the year Six Senses La Sagesse will open on the south east coast. Add to this the charming, 36-year-old but still-going-strong Calabash Grenada boutique hotel as well as Virgin Atlantic’s increasing number of flights from the UK to the Caribbean island, and you have more options for your Grenada 2024 getaway than ever before. It may be a small island – one that’s easy to circumnavigate in a day by car – but the range of flora and fauna is impressive, boasting everything from mountains and waterfalls to beaches and rainforest.
Niagara, Ontario, Canada
On the 8 April 2024 parts of Canada will witness a total solar eclipse – when the sun disappears behind the moon creating darkness during daytime. According to Nasa, the eclipse will cross North America, from Mexico to New York, before entering Canada in southern Ontario and exiting from Newfoundland, when it will continue into the Labrador Sea. It’s the first time such an event has been visible in Canada since 1979 and some of the best places to be for it include parts of Montreal, Kingston, Niagara Falls and Hamilton – with Niagara Falls seeing three minutes of total darkness, beginning at around 3:18PM local time. The Niagara Falls State Park is where you want to be but, whether you make it for the eclipse or not, there’s reason to stay in Niagara for a few days: falls aside, you’ll find vineyards and wine routes, farmlands and farm-to-table restaurants, hiking trails and helicopter tours. There’s also an increased flight service from Heathrow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Dublin into Montreal and Toronto this year, with Air Canada and Air Transat, making your Europe to Eastern Canada travel easier than ever.
Europe has three dedicated Capitals of Culture for 2024: Bad Ischl in Austria, Bodø in Norway and Tartu in Estonia. We’re focussed on the latter for its sharp interpretation on culture: what it means collectively, and how it can strengthen pan-European relationships. A series of more than 1,000 events will take place across Tartu and wider Estonia this year, focussing on the earth, humanity, Europe and the Universe. The opening ceremony takes place on 26 January and everyone’s invited, while other key highlights include the Hybrid European Democracy Festival in May (which takes place across 20 European cities and encourages communication between borders); a Sting concert on 10 June; and an exhibition showing the winners of an astrophotography competition being held from October – December. Of course, there are plenty of events showcasing Tartu and wider Estonia as well, including Open House Tartu, tours of national parks, folk music concerts, and canoe trips by torchlight. Tallinn might be the capital city, but Tartu is the place to be in Estonia this year.
Greece was the most googled destination in 2023 – and one of the most popular locations for envy-inducing social media snaps, too. With a slew of new, covetable hotels to lust over opening this year – located everywhere from Athens to the islands – this Mediterranean hotspot shows no signs of slowing down during 2024. Hotel openings in 2024 include Santo Mine in Santorini, Odera in Tinos, Gundari in Folegandros and Andronis Minois in Paros, while last year saw Manna in Arcadia, Sigma Residences in Sifnos and Korfi de Milo in Milos. But the list goes on. Our advice for any visit to Greece – be it in spring, summer, autumn or winter? Don’t skip on the capital city, Athens. A new One&Only Resort – the second property from the brand to open in Europe – has recently begun welcoming guests to its stunning location on the Athens Riviera, and there’s also a whole host of boutique hotels worth checking out (or into). After a trek up to the Acropolis, stop for a post-sight-seeing lunch at nearby traditional Greek restaurant, To Kati Allo, before taking advantage of the city’s unique shopping scene. Did someone say sun, sea, shopping and souvlaki? We’re in.
With an audience capacity of 23,500 people, the UK’s largest indoor music arena, Co-op Live, is set to open in Manchester in April 2024. Fitting for a city whose soul is so entwined with music and who lays claim to being the home of rock ‘n’ roll greats such as The Stone Roses, Joy Division, The Smiths and Oasis. In May 2024 alone, the arena will see Olivia Rodrigo, Take That, Eric Clapton and Nikki Minaj perform, amongst others, and is set to draw crowds from the city itself, as well as from the rest of the UK and abroad. Tour tourism is one of our fifteen travel trends for 2024 predictions, and we’re pleased to see it play out on UK turf, too. Elsewhere Soho House Manchester will open in spring 2024, plus Michelin Guide’s Great Britain and Ireland 2024 launch ceremony will take place at Manchester’s already well-established hotel, The Midland. Not to mention the many new restaurants joining the city’s trendy dining scene this year. To name just a few on a long foodie-friendly line up: Skof by Tom Barnes, who was previously head chef at three Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Enclume; Gino D’Acampo’s eponymous restaurant at INNSiDE by Melia Hotel; and a multi-space events venue, Fairfield Social Club. All eyes, ears and taste buds are on this northern England city this year.
“Paris is always a good idea,” but it’s perhaps an even better one in 2024. The City of Light will host the 2024 Olympics in July and August, and the Paralympic Games during August and September. Sponsorship by LVMH means it will be hosted in style: luxury French jeweller Chaumet will design the winners’ medals, Sephora will be a partner for the Olympic Torch Relay, and Moët Hennesy wines and spirits will be served at official events during the games. We’d expect nothing less from this fashion capital. Perhaps in preparation for the Olympic event – and the global crowds it will draw – plenty of new places to stay opened across the city during 2023: Hôtel Dame des Arts brings a contemporary flair to the Latin Quarter while Madame Rêve brings seduction to the first arrondissement. Outside of the Olympics, the city’s cultural calendar is brimming with concerts and exhibitions, too. In the run up to the big event, Musée des Arts Décoratifs explores the connection between sport and fashion (20 September 2023 – 7 April 2024) and if you’re visiting for the games, stop by Eva Jospin’s The Silk Room at the Palace of Versailles (18 June – 29 September 2024) and explore the history of Parisian department stores at Musée des Arts Décoratifs (10 April – 13 October 2024). Later in the year the Frida Khalo exhibition at the Grand Palais Immersif (18 September 2024 – 2 March 2025) and this photography exposition by Tina Barney (24 September 2024 – 19 January 2025) are two must-visit highlights.
After much toing and froing regarding its environmental impact, it was confirmed (for a second time) in December 2023 that the surfing competition of the Paris 2024 Olympics will be held in French Polynesia (27 – 30 July 2024). This is only the second time in Olympic history that surfing has been included as one of the games. It’s no wonder that organisers wanted the event to take place in French Polynesia, an overseas French territory: the beach it will take place on, Tahiti’s Teahupo’o beach, is a well-known surf spot that attracts pros, Olympic Games or not. The sport, too, originated in Polynesia as far back as the 12th century, and it’s said that Polynesian royalty took part. If you can’t make it for the big event, there’s plenty more reason to visit French Polynesia this year – not least to stay in style at The Brando (pictured) which is just a 20-minute charter flight north from the region’s main airport, Faa’a International. Or, fly west, to Bora Bora where the Westin Bora Bora Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in May 2024.
– Want to make the most of your annual leave this year? Here’s how.
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