Every year, Travel + Leisure spends months putting together a list of the best destinations to travel to. The publication surveys writers from around the world and consults their A-List travel specialists to get the scoop on the best beaches, up-and-coming towns, places for great food and drink, and more. Here are some select destinations from this year’s 50 Best Places to Travel:

Angra dos Reis, Brazil

“Brazil’s visa waiver during the Olympics was a success for one big reason: it encouraged travel beyond the big cities. The tourism board hopes to bring back the waiver, and if you’re planning to take advantage, save time to visit Angra dos Reis, between Rio and São Paulo. This popular Brazilian vacation area is where cariocas go to escape the crowds. “It’s where many of the country’s elite have their beach villas,” says Martin Frankenberg of Matuete, who has access to several of these glamorous rentals. Big changes are coming to the region. In May, Brazilian chain Fasano will open a long-awaited 54-suite hotel in a complex that includes a marina, golf course, restaurants, and a spa. The design is striking, with elevated wooden buildings that look like they’re floating, all with open-air terraces and views of the forest and sea. And the government recently pledged $8 million to improve the infrastructure on Ilha Grande—an island that’s so popular that they’ve had to impose a daily limit on visitors.” —Stephanie Wu

Cape Town, South Africa

“Beyond its iconic mountain backdrop and cinematic beaches, Cape Town has a compelling art and design scene, and it’s only going to get better when the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Artopens at the V&A Waterfront in 2017. The MOCAA—heralded as South Africa’s answer to the MoMA or the Tate Modern—will take over a soaring concrete building once used for grain storage. Atop the museum sits The Silo, a luxury hotel from the Royal Portfolio that’s set to open in March. Until then, visitors can fill the hours between gallery-hopping with a taste of the legendary local fare. The surrounding Cape Winelands—Stellenbosch, Constantia, and Franschhoek, among others—keep Cape Town’s residents well hydrated, while acclaimed restaurants like the Test Kitchen (ranked number 22 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list) and its new sister spot the Shortmarket Club keep them well fed.” —Mary Holland

Hampi, India

“One of India’s most spectacular monuments will become newly accessible this year with the launch of a high-end resort in Hampi. When the 14th-century capital of the Vijayanagara Empire was constructed, in what is now the southwestern state of Karnataka, it was one of the largest cities in the world. The ruined settlement’s dazzling temples, monuments, and public buildings—strewn across a landscape of giant boulders, banana groves, and rice paddies—have long been a must-visit for dedicated Indophiles. But the town of Hampi has lacked world-class accommodation and infrastructure, making a visit less than luxurious. Now the new Orange County, Hampi offers a solution: 46 rooms spread across a palatial, Vijayanagara-inspired estate less than three miles from the UNESCO World Heritage site area. As Lucy Davis, director of India tour operator Banyan Tours, puts it, “the property is a game-changer for visitors to Hampi.”” —Flora Stubbs

Hamburg, Germany

“Slicker than graffiti-laden Berlin and edgier than Munich or Frankfurt, this booming port town has always been one of Germany’s most intriguing cities. Recent years have seen the banks of the Elbe River morph into an architectural wonderland, with icons such as Zaha Hadid’s River Promenade reshaping the landscape. The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg by Herzog & de Meuron, a concert hall featuring an undulating glass structure on top of a midcentury brick warehouse, will welcome visitors for its inaugural performance on January 11, 2017. Not far away, The Fontenay, a stylish grande dame, will open its doors in summer. The once-gritty isle of Wilhelmsburg is transforming into a hot spot, drawing comparisons to the similar-sounding Williamsburg in Brooklyn thanks to projects like IBA Hamburg – Energiebunker—a former air-raid bunker converted into an eco-friendly power source—WCW Gallery, and third-wave coffee shops like Kaffeeliebe.” —Diana Hubbell


“Despite its many allures (milky-blue terraced waterfalls, mountains blanketed with jungle, centuries-old golden stupas, and crumbling temples) landlocked Laos has always been overshadowed by its tourist-magnet neighbors. But that’s changing: in the fall, the country was thrust into the international spotlight with a historic visit from Barack Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in the nation. Recent negotiations with Thailand opened up additional flights from Bangkok, and new upscale lodgings have made Laos’s two major cities—the temple-studded capital of Vientiane and Luang Prabang, a UNESCO-protected town prized for its natural sights and mix of traditional and French-colonial architecture—much more accessible. In 2017, the President by Akaryn—the area’s first five-star hotel—arrives in Vientiane just steps from the temple of the Emerald Buddha, followed by a Rosewood in Luang Prabang.” —Lila Battis

Montreal, Quebec

“In January, the Canadian city kicks off a year of events in honor of its 375th birthday. Look for art pop-ups, symphony performances, and the unveiling of the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne, an urban boardwalk that will connect Mont-Royal to the St. Lawrence River. And plan on returning a few pounds heavier. Montreal’s phenomenal culinary scene—influenced by its French-British background and multiethnic population—is drawing interest from foodies far beyond Canada’s borders. Don’t miss local favorites like Foxy and Candide, which prove that sophisticated doesn’t have to mean stiff, and the hotly anticipated Marconi, from chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly, who recently moved back to his native Montreal after a five-year stint in New York City.” —Mary Holland

Provence, France

“Wineries and hilltop bastides have always lured travelers to Provence, but a recent wave of modish auberges has turned the destination downright stylish. Take the Domaine de Fontenille, a refurbished 17th-century Luberon estate that now includes a 17-room inn and a contemporary art gallery. In St.-Rémy-de-Provence, a landmark mansion has been transformed into the Hôtel de Tourrel, a sleek seven-room inn dotted with Eileen Gray designs and crowned with a rooftop pool terrace. And just outside Aix-en-Provence, the 28 villas at the contemporary Villa La Coste are encircled by vineyards that supply the estate’s organic winery. Its sculpture park contains works by boldface architects and artists such as Louise Bourgeois, whose mammoth Crouching Spiderguards the Provençal landscape like a Modernist scarecrow.” —Raphael Kadushin

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Philly is coming off a high-profile couple of years, between hosting Pope Francis and the DNC and being the first U.S. city inducted into the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Bathed in that ego-boosting afterglow, America’s birthplace is adding hotel options from brands like Four Seasons, W, SLS, and Study, and debuting its new Museum of the American Revolution this spring. The young population here is growing at a faster rate than any other major city, and tidy residential neighborhoods like East Passyunk are being diversified. Here, the old guard sipping homemade limoncello at the Sicilian social club shares sidewalk seating with the double-IPA enthusiasts at the craft-beer boutique next door, while across the street, two young female sommeliers have put together thrilling lists of skin-fermented Malvasia, Breton cider, and quirky Canary Island reds at hot spots Townsend and ITV. Around the corner, the succulent slow-cooked lamb tacos at South Philly Barbacoa come with a side of social justice: owners Cristina Martinez and Ben Miller are staunch activists for undocumented workers’ rights (Martinez is open about her own undocumented status). And the new mayor is on their side as well—he’s fighting to protect Philly as a sanctuary city.” —Adam Erace

Tamuda Bay, Morocco

“A mélange of cultural and geographic influences has given this string of seaside towns on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast a uniquely European flavor, and recent upscale openings have turned the area into a bona fide resort destination. Last spring in the town of Mdiq, Sofitel debuted Tamuda Bay Beach & Spa, a 104-room hotel with a palette inspired by the mid-20th-century Côte d’Azur. It’s a lively contrast to the subdued Moorish aesthetic of Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay, a new all-villa resort 20 minutes north in Fnidek. But there’s more to the region than sun and surf: the nearby port city of Tétouan has several museums and one of Morocco’s best-preserved medinas. Head there now—with a Ritz-Carlton Reserve on the horizon, Tamuda Bay won’t stay under the radar for long.” —Lila Battis

Queenstown, New Zealand

“There are two new places to stay in New Zealand’s adventure capital (ski season starts in mid-June, but there’s bungee jumping and jet boating year-round). Bed down at the boutique Hulbert House, with six suites in an 1888 Victorian villa, or the 69-room QT Queenstown, which is slated to land on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this year. And those who have previously traveled here for adrenaline rushes have a new treat in store: the Nevis Thriller, coming early in 2017. Details are sparse, but its creator, the AJ Hackett company, says it will combine “speed, height, and flight.”” —Carrie Hutchinson

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