We’re counting down our picks for the top ten coolest countries in the world. For your next visit. These can be up and coming hotspots for contemporary culture, time honored classics that never get old, or anything in between.
Peru, Machu Picchu
Might be overdone, but this country doesn’t begin and end with the iconic Casa del. A beautiful and diverse nation, Peru is rich in history, culture and great people. Lima can feel a bit sleepy compared to the average capital city, but the vibe is more laid back than boring. A city of artisans, marketplaces and mouth watering food. Lima is a gift to travelers, one that reveals new layers and complexities. The longer you spend there. Of course, you’d be remiss to spend your entire trip to Peru in the capital city. The coastline boasts incredible surfing opportunities and quiet beachside retreats, while the Peruvian wilderness beckons more adventurous travelers with that all being said, now that the government has put restrictions in place to protect historic sites like Machu Picchu, it might be worth getting on the waitlist for a guilt free visit.
Small and once relatively insular, Cuba’s remarkable history has resulted in a country like no other. Especially now that it’s redefining itself, Cuba’s coastal resorts have long traded in the cookie cutter all inclusive experience, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. No to understand the magic of Cuba, and it’s undefinable, totally unpretentious, cool factor. You need to venture into the heart of the country amongst the local people, in the capital city of Havana. Vintage cars cruised by once opulent colonial and Art Deco buildings, many now crumbling music, drifts out of the cafes where a great meal. Can be had for next to nothing, and the welcome is always sure to be a warm one. Cuba is an island nation that really needs to be explored at length to be fully appreciated. Return as many times as you like. There will always be something new to discover.
These days travelers in the no are increasingly prioritizing authenticity over tourist centric experiences. If unique, culturally rich travel is your vibe then it doesn’t get much more hip than Bhutan. A truly once. In a lifetime experience, a trip to Bhutan is also a trip to one of the happiest places on Earth. No, Bhutan doesn’t have its own Disney theme park, but the government puts major emphasis on its gross National Happiness Index, prioritizing the mental and spiritual well being of its residents. Bhutan is a tiny Himalayan country where Buddhism is intimately intertwined into everyday life. A local guide is part of the package. When you explore this remarkable country, and though that might seem a bit overbearing at first. Rest assured that this is a fun, loving and welcoming nation. Just one committed to protecting itself from over tourism, culture and the environment are top priorities in Bhutan and that translates into a truly life changing experience for visitors.
South Africa has risen above the systematic racism of apartheid. To become a must visit destination. Attracting visitors from around the Globe, South Africa is the ultimate playground for outdoor adventures. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves, spot wildlife on an ethical safari or explore epic landscapes, South Africa is the place to be. The city of Cape Town is stunning and the beach parties are the stuff of legend. As for the wine tasting opportunities, South Africa’s reputation precedes it. Johannesburg can be overwhelming for first time visitors. It’s vibrant and lively at its best, but can also feel downright chaotic at times. It’s in rapidly changing cities like this, however, that the most exciting developments take place. And the Joburg culinary scene is one to watch in the food world. It’s also got a booming art scene to round out the experience.
Trendy comes and goes. But Italy is Amour eternel sort of cool that never goes out of style like Greece. It balances ancient history and a wealth of monuments with modern fashion and nightlife to strike a perfect balance of new and old. A trip to Italy can be spent hopping from one major tourist attraction to the next, but it’s just as rewarding to simply wander around, taking in the sights. And the sounds of daily life well makes Italy so special. Is that be it in bustling cities like Rome and Florence? Or out in the countryside? People simply do not rush, they take their time, they sit and enjoy their coffee. They get together with friends for aperita. Oh, after work from the youthful and vibrant city of Bologna to Italy’s increasingly popular South, this is a country of casual, cool and effortless elegance.
Tourism plays a major role in the economy. Of this South Asian Island nation, when tourism becomes a key source of income for locals, tourist traps, opportunism and a drop in authenticity typically aren’t far behind, but such is the magic of Sri Lanka glistening in the Indian Ocean, a land of awe, inspiring views, ancient sites and beaches that seem to stretch on forever. Sri Lanka doesn’t need to change to suit the needs of tourists. It’s already got a winning formula. The country is only working with about 25,000 square miles. Of land, but it packs in eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, a rainforest teeming with colorful wildlife, tea plantations and more. Oh, and on top of everything else, it’s also an extremely budget friendly destination. Of course, those looking to splurge can always get pampered at one of the islands.
Despite often being overshadowed in the news by its neighbor to the north, this East Asian country has established itself as a must visit destination. Officially known as the Republic of Korea, this gem of a country earns its place on the podium. In no small part thanks to its capital city Seoul, this awe inspiring metropolis is on the cutting edge of fashion and beauty. The streets of neighborhoods like App, Kujang, Dong and Shinsadong can often feel like one big catwalk. Seoul is a city chock full of unique boutiques, art installations and once in a lifetime experiences. And yet, despite everything that locals have going on there, it is never too busy to welcome travellers. Or point them in the right direction. Soles, magnetic quality. Often make South Korea a single destination trip venture beyond the capital, however, and you’ll be greeted with stunning countryside and a wide variety of must. Visit festivals.
There are few countries in the world that offer such travel opportunities. Yes, most nations have a mix of city and nature to be appreciated, but a first time visit to any country usually follows a fairly straightforward trajectory. Mexico is a real choose year. An adventure sort of destination you can relax on the beach, sipping drinks at an all inclusive or travel further along the coast to find an unpretentious little stretch of sand to call your own in Mexico City, which is quickly becoming a capital of culture and all things cool. A booming food scene. Focus on local artists and stunning architecture. Wait, it’s not the only population center you’ll want to visit. However, the Pueblos maciejko or Magic Towns program puts a spotlight on the unique charms of a number. Of rural towns across the country, then you’ve got the Mexican wilderness, which offers no shortage of adventure. No matter how you approach Mexico, there’s always one constant total authenticity.
Modern, elegant, technologically advanced, steeped in history, traditional Japan is a land of apparent contradictions, and this makes it easily the coolest place on Earth to be right now. Cities like Tokyo and Osaka boast Eye Catching Skylines and neon, candy hued. Lights with a futuristic vibe around the next corner, however, one encounters an immaculately preserved temple or shrine. And as you move beyond the city limits, you soon find yourself in stunning natural spaces that more than just untarnished feel as if they’ve been frozen in time. Japan is the sort of place where you can immerse yourself in the fascinating nightlife one day and retreat to a mountain spa or on send the next. Tokyo is among the most visited cities in the world. And yet the locals never lose their commitment to hospitality. From food and fashion to architecture and the arts, Japan does it all and makes it look easy.
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