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National Geographic names the 20 best travel experiences for 2024

Updated: Mar 19


This year, National Geographic 's annual Best of the World highlight takes you on a journey through the picturesque streets of Paris, to the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus in Georgia, to the ancient rock carvings of Algeria. To provide travelers with a deeper and more meaningful experience, an international group of National Geographic experts has recommended which activities are most worthwhile. These recommendations include a list of 20 adventures for 2024, of which we will describe the top ten in more detail here.

1. Horse Riding Safari in Kenya

Riding safari in Kenya
© GmbH

A safari in Africa is often associated with images of four-wheel-drive vehicles driving through the wilderness covered in mud. But there is an alternative way to explore the landscape: on horseback.

Horse safaris, which originated in Kenya in the 1970s, are now an ideal option for travelers looking for more exciting and environmentally friendly wildlife experiences. At Borana Conservancy, a 32,000-acre nature reserve, two riding stables have thoroughbreds and former polo horses ready to welcome riders of all levels. Guests can choose between half-day, full-day safaris or even overnight trips. The months of July to September are considered the best time to visit.

2nd Olympic Marathon in Paris

Runner in Paris

For the first time, members of the public will have the chance to run their own marathon at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France, a move that is part of a push to make the Games more inclusive.

The "Marathon for All", which takes place on the evening of August 10th, between the official men's and women's marathon races, offers 20,024 participants selected via a lottery the opportunity to tackle the 42.195 kilometer route between Paris and Versailles. The race starts at the Hôtel de Ville (town hall) and runs through nine arrondissements, finally ending at Les Invalides on the banks of the Seine.

3. Skiing in the UNESCO sites of Georgia

Medieval city of Ushguli in winter

Skiing once served as a means of transportation, exploration and hunting and remains an integral part of the lifestyle in the mountainous Republic of Georgia. Today, operators like Svaneti Ski and Georgia Ski Touring allow visitors to discover the country's excellent backcountry ski resorts in the Caucasian mountains. Svaneti offers ski tours over the picturesque Gvibari Pass or to the medieval villages of Ushguli, which are among the highest, permanently populated villages in Europe. The optimal time for such adventures is from December to April.

4. Watch bears in Katmai National Park, Alaska

Bears in Katmai National Park, Alaska

In Alaska's Katmai National Park, known for one of the world's densest brown bear populations, a guided trip along the Katmai Coast with companies like AK Adventures offers a unique perspective away from the busy platforms of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center.

In this region, bears feed on a variety of food sources such as sedges, grasses, razor clams and salmon. “Observing a single brown bear in the wild has deep meaning for me because it suggests that the ecosystem is intact and capable of supporting it,” explains Acacia Johnson, an Alaska-based photographer who regularly contributes written for National Geographic.

5. Live concerts in Kyoto

Rock music band in Kyoto

Travel guides often paint a picture of Kyoto as a place where time seems to stand still, characterized by quiet temples and tranquil gardens. But outside of working hours, another side emerges in Japan's former imperial city: a vibrant live music scene that ranges from lively to unbridled. Venues like Jittoku and Field celebrate a range of music styles late into the night, from rock to swing to Irish music. No matter whether your heart beats for jazz or punk, in Kyoto you will find a community with whom you can share your musical preferences. “This is what happens in Japan once the masks come off,” notes Kyoto guide Van Milton.

6. Boat trip on the Magdalena River in Colombia

Magdalena River in Colombia

Around 80 percent of Colombia's population settles in the Magdalena River basin, which stretches nearly a thousand miles from the Andes to the Caribbean. AmaWaterways is now probably the first major cruise company to offer new cruises on this river. The week-long tours lead from Cartagena via Mompós to Barranquilla. The route is peppered with stops in colonial towns, performances of vallenato and cumbia music, and visits to stilt villages that highlight the cultural diversity of the region along this important river.

7. Road trip on Route 66 in New Mexico

Bisti Badlands, New Mexico Route 66, USA

Route 66 has been a magnet for travelers for nearly a century. The New Mexico section offers timeless attractions, including quirky motels and souvenir shops around Tucumcari and the important petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument. In Gallup, which was already celebrated as a place to stay in Nat King Cole's famous song "Route 66" in 1946, there are opportunities to admire performances by Zuni, Lakota and Diné (Navajo) dancers.

An 18-mile portion of this iconic road traverses Albuquerque, the longest urban section of the route in the United States. Thanks to ongoing restoration work on old neon signs along Central Avenue, this part shines with new splendor, with investments of half a million dollars.

As you drive along this bright boulevard, it's worth stopping at the new West Central Route 66 Visitor Center, which houses a museum and an open-air amphitheater. Events such as lowrider car shows, drive-in cinemas and craft markets are offered there.

8. Ancient art in Algeria

Tassili n'Ajjer National Park in Algeria

Algeria is home to Africa's largest national park, which boasts an impressive collection of ancient rock carvings worldwide. The Tassili n'Ajjer National Park presents itself as a geological fairytale landscape, characterized by sandstone pillars, natural arches and artfully eroded rock terraces. But the real magic lies in the more than 15,000 petroglyphs left by Neolithic pastoralists and hunter-gatherer cultures, with motifs of elephants, giraffes and rhinos - animals commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa. This suggests that this current desert landscape was once a lush grassland crossed by rivers. Fancy Yellow offers five- to seven-day tours that take visitors to the most breathtaking rock art, including the “crying cows” created 7,000 years ago at the base of a rock spur.

For those who have more time on their hands, you can combine a visit to Tassili with an expedition to Ahaggar National Park, another geological highlight of the Algerian Sahara, known for its exceptional mountain landscape.

9. Dive with sharks in Western Australia

Diving with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef

Stretching along the Indian Ocean for nearly 1,125 kilometers north of Perth, Western Australia's Coral Coast is a treasure trove of natural wonders. But the Ningaloo Reef remains the undisputed centerpiece. This is a unique opportunity to dive side by side with giants of the sea: 300 to 500 whale sharks gather here every year between March and July, one of the largest concentrations of this species in the world. Responsible operators ensure that divers have access to these majestic animals Leave the necessary space and avoid feeding or using flash when taking photos.

The megafauna encounters continue from July to October, when around 40,000 humpback whales complete their migration along the coral coast. Additionally, there is the opportunity to come into contact with over 10,000 dugongs in Shark Bay or swim alongside manta rays in Coral Bay.

10. Volcano hike in Panama

Valle de Anton, Panama

Panama, a pioneer in sustainability, recently launched the ambitious “1,000 Kilometers of Hiking Trails” project with the aim of raising awareness of outdoor tourism and environmentally responsible tourism in rural and protected areas.

First up is the Ruta de la Caldera, a network of five hiking trails that surround the extinct volcano Valle de Antón. Photographer Rose Marie Cromwell, who explored parts of the Ruta de la Caldera over five days, reports on her hike through landscapes rich in waterfalls.

“From the top of the volcano crater there were breathtaking views – fascinating terrain formations covered in lush greenery,” she says.

11. Solar eclipse at Niagara Falls

12. Glacier hike in Chile

13. Time travel to Menorca

14. The Royal Scotsman train in Scotland

15. Enjoy authentic cuisine in the Issan region of northeast Thailand

16. Hike the tea trails of Sri Lanka

17. Gallery visit in São Paulo

18. Rafting in West Virginia

19. Antique shopping in the Hudson Valley

20. Overnight stay in a floating lodge in British Columbia

You can find the entire article here .

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