The great appeal of Tripadvisor is that its rankings are not compiled by journalists or industry experts, but by travellers and hotel guests themselves, which makes this top-ten list of global cities and tourist hotspots even more interesting.

The more excellent reviews a destination receives from its visitors, the higher its ranking, and the following is the international top-ten, as voted for by people who were there, stayed, explored, discovered and enjoyed. In fact, they liked it so much that they’re recommending them above all others right now.


Known above all as a highly popular Christmas and New Year’s destination, Scotland’s capital is suited to all seasons. One of the most romantic and poetic cities of all, this classical gem has an ambience all of its own, complete with fine museums, galleries, fantastic cityscapes and a thriving music and art scene.

Held in August, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a celebration of comedy, theatre, art, music and creative expression that brings tens of thousands of visitors to the city, while the Edinburgh Tattoo offers live viewers a chance to see famous military parades within the iconic presence of the beautiful Edinburgh Castle. But there is more, much more, as this is also a city of ghost tours, whisky tasting, poetry, shopping, proud Scottish traditions and of regular visits to the atmospheric pubs.


The world’s northernmost capital and by far the largest city in sparsely populated Iceland, Reykjavik offers a frontier-like experience not far from the Polar Circle. It serves as a perfect base for trips into the awe-inspiring nature of Iceland, with its wild waterfalls, mountainous tundra, heather and isolated farmsteads, yet the city is fascinating in its own right.

Many come to watch the Northern Lights against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, visit the natural geothermal geysers and spas, go out sailing or explore the unique heritage of this Viking nation on the far extreme of Europe.

Key West, Florida

Technically within the sunshine holiday state of Florida, Key West forms part of a chain of tiny islands that extends southwards into the Caribbean and towards Cuba. In fact, its southernmost point comes pretty close to it, making this the most truly Caribbean part of ‘mainland’ USA – a fact that endows this getaway destination with a vibe all of its own.

Typically laid-back and easy-going, the local pace of life is slow and gentle by American standards, the white sandy beaches fringed by palm trees and the sunsets to die for. What’s more, in a land of large resorts, the local ones are small and intimate, explaining exactly why this delightful slice of tropical America is so sought after.


Just as sunny but drier and as exotic as it gets, Marrakech is one of the cultural jewels of Morocco. This southern city occupies a relatively fertile area close to the natural extremes of the high Atlas Mountains and the sandy fringes of the Sahara Desert, but above all is a captivating city with a medieval historic heart full of sights and sounds.

The sandy toned houses stand close together, their hidden Riad hotels and lively medina criss-crossed by alleyways that all seem to lead to one place: the giant Jmaa el Fna square. In addition to palaces, mosques and the Majorelle Gardens, this daytime marketplace and night-time open-air restaurant will provide richly engrained memories.


The most famous city in The Netherlands is a longstanding tourist favourite thanks to its rich profusion of art – as in the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum – its beautiful 17th century architecture, charming canals and famously liberal way of life. The latter is much sought after by visitors, who flock to the famous red-light district, coffee shops and nightclubs.

But Amsterdam is also a city of culture – with grand monuments, a multitude of museums, fine dining, shopping and gastronomy – as well as a bustling and cosmopolitan centre full of lively traditional pubs, canal-side cafés, floating markets and a newly up-and-coming district in what the locals call Noord (North), the newest district to join its long list of attractions.


Many will know the Irish capital as the city of Guinness, U2 and Oscar Wilde, and indeed, you can visit the excellent former Guinness factory, now a museum, view the famous playwright’s home and stay at the elegant Jugendstil hotel of Bono and his bandmembers, but there’s a lot more to Dublin besides.

With the River Liffy as your point of reference, this is a wonderful city to stroll through, visiting the sites of this compact capital, which include among others Trinity College, the statue of Phil Lynott (lead singer of Thin Lizzy) on St Anne’s Street, lively Temple Bar and the proliferation of charming pubs, arcades and shopping streets. Above all, you’ll love the people and what has to be the best sense of humour in the world.


Indonesia’s best known island is a famous tourist destination for scores of visitors in search of sun, luxury resorts, beach parties and water sports. But this green jewel is a fascinating and beautiful place quite apart from classic tourist pursuits, offering gorgeous countryside to explore, a friendly people proud of their local culture, Hindu heritage and customs, architecture and traditions that are wonderfully exotic to western eyes.

Where some focus mainly on the fine white sandy beaches and clear blue seas, others also head inland to explore nature reserves, animal sanctuaries, local communities and cultural gems. Bali packs it all into one small island.


This southern Polish city is sometimes called ‘the other Prague’, because of its many great historic buildings and the gentle, refined ambience of the city’s large historic centre. The hometown of former pope John Paul II, Krakow offers a more relaxed, less ‘touristy’ experience that allows you to stroll into local eateries, pubs and busy cafés with live music.

The monuments are well worth visiting, and if you head a little south of the city there is the choice of the poignant Auschwitz memorial at the former concentration camp complex, or the rather more uplifting salt mines, which have been worked since the Middle Ages and include everything from an underground sanitorium to a real-life cathedral hewn from the rock salt.


Scotland’s largest city and long one of the industrial powerhouses of the UK, Glasgow is growing in stature as a vibrant centre for shopping, nightlife, culture, business and gastronomy. Glasgow has a young, dynamic feel that is further enhanced by its cosmopolitan dining offer, its lively pubs and nightlife, and many excellent free galleries and museums.

Visitors also use the city as an ideal base from which to explore the famous, rugged Highlands of Scotland, head into the sparsely settled islands of the Western Hebrides or even go in search of the world’s most elusive creature, the Loch Ness Monster. Even if you don’t spot Nessie, you’ll enjoy the beauty of this scenery and a visit to a noble whisky distillery.

New Orleans

This southern city is a very different part of the USA, in a region where diverse worlds come together on American soil. For this is a place with a distinct French colonial and Caribbean flavour, visible in everything from the architecture of the historic centre to the local dialect, the cuisine, the blues and jazz music, and the annual revelry of America’s best Mardi Gras.

Second only to Rio’s carnival, the New Orleans Mardi Gras is a riotous event that brings together the city’s diverse historic heritage in a colourful celebration of music, dance, food and Caribbean style abandon. Be sure to visit the elegant French Quarter, try the local Creole dishes and feast your ears on some live blues, soul and jazz.