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National Geographic’s 21 Best Places to Visit in 2018

Where to go in 2018? National Geographic’s editors have some suggestions. Twenty-one of them, in fact, divided equally among three categories: cities, culture, and nature.

According to the news release accompanying the 2018 Best of the World article, “The No. 1 question we get from our 9.6 million readers is, ‘Where should I go next?’ … Packed with surprise, humor and relevance, our list advances our National Geographic mission to explore, conserve and share unforgettable stories about the best of our world.”

Whether it lives up to that rather grand billing or not, the list is an intriguing one, and certainly includes some surprising choices.


  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Malmo, Sweden
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tbilisi, Georgia


  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Friesland, Netherlands
  • Harar, Ethiopia
  • Labrador, Canada
  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Tetouan, Morocco
  • Vienna, Austria


  • Albania
  • Jordan Trail, Jordan
  • Jujuy Province, Argentina
  • Madagascar
  • Oahu, Hawaii
  • Ruaha NP, Tanzania
  • Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

Cleveland, for culture? National Geographic makes the case as follows:

Cleveland rocks: on stage in the eight theaters on Playhouse Square, at indie-music venue Beachland Ballroom, and in hip meat-lovers’ restaurants like the Black Pig and the Plum. Shop and stroll in the revived Hingetown neighborhood and Waterloo Arts District.

OK, maybe there’s a case to be made. But, as with some of the other choices on the list, it seems more geared to surprise than to impress. Which might just be a good thing if it serves to get us out of our usual where-to-go thinking rut.

Reader Reality Check

Any of these destinations catch your eye?

More from SmarterTravel:

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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