The Most Spectacular (and Popular) Places to Visit This Spring

Trend forecast: These destinations are rising to the top of must-see lists

Updated 04/19/18

Photo by Liz Banfield

Planning your next getaway? A few epic places, both domestic and international, are rocketing to the top of must-see lists.

Moscow, Botswana, and Santiago are among the spots trending up, according to a recently released survey from American Express Travel. Whether this uptick intrigues or deters you from visiting, at the very least, you’ll want to hear what all the hype is about.

Scroll on to discover the destinations climbing the ranks this spring. Pro tip: These on-the-rise locales are getting more popular by the minute. Book soon to beat the crowds.

Moscow, Russia

April brings mellow temps to Moscow. Slush turns to green and conditions are comfortable for sightseeing (although you’ll still need a coat and boots), making it ideal for scoping out iconic sites like Red Square, Lenin’s Mausoleum, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the Kremlin. The first week in May invites visitors to join in on the revelry of parades, fireworks, and street parties galore.

Botswana

For couples looking to check a remote and romantic safari off their bucket list, few places compare to Botswana. The sprawling Central Kalahari Game Reserve is renowned for its rugged terrain—open plains, sand dunes, saltpans, acacia trees forests, and ancient riverbeds—and abundant wildlife. April and May, in particular, beckon adventure-seekers to catch a glimpse of black-maned lions, giraffes, rhinos, antelope, cheetahs, and hyenas in their natural habitat.

Santiago, Chile

Spring up here, means autumn for Southern Hemisphere destinations such as Santiago. Crowds die down and mild weather makes it the perfect time to explore the masterpiece-filled museums, neoclassical landmarks, and hillside parks. Bonus: Many of Chile’s best wineries are located just outside its cosmopolitan capital in the Maipo Valley, which is conveniently accessible by metro or taxi.

Santorini, Greece

Famed for its stunning sunsets, volcanic landscape, and blue-domed churches, Santorini has a long history as a honeymoon haven, especially in the summer. Now, savvy couples are starting to venture to this idyllic Greek island in the spring. Why? Fewer tourists, plus reduced rates on airfare and accommodations. It may not be warm enough for a swim in the sparkling Aegean Sea, however sipping a glass of Assyrtiko in your own private jacuzzi sounds pretty heavenly.

Doha, Qatar

Dynamic, cosmopolitan, and constantly changing, Doha is a metropolis on the rise. Its modern shopping malls, upscale dining, colorful souqs, world-class Islamic art, and luxury lodgings like La Cigale Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton, Doha are attracting an influx of vacationers. No wonder more than 50% of Qataris call this fast-growing capital home, nor that it’s being billed as the next holiday hotspot in the Middle East.

St. Louis, Missouri

Springtime in St. Louis is downright delightful. The city comes alive with seasonal activities, outdoor concerts, and baseball games. The botanical gardens and local breweries are also major draws, as is the vibrant Soulard district with its many bars, barbecue restaurants, and blues clubs. And, of course, no trip to St. Louis is complete without seeing the iconic Gateway Arch.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Japan and Washington, D.C. are beloved for cherry blossoms, but Holland is blessed with tulips. As the buds begin to bloom, Amsterdam is transformed into a paradise of petals, tree-lined canals, colorful houses, lively outdoor cafés, and cycle paths. Don’t forget to hit up Bloemenmarkt, the only floating flower market in the world.

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is more than a pit stop on the way to Machu Picchu. Situated 11,000 feet above sea level, this high-altitude city was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Today, it remains a bastion of centuries-old architecture—a mesmerizing mix of archaeological ruins, ancient Andean wonders, and impressively preserved Spanish colonial structures.

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah enchants travelers with its antebellum buildings, cobblestone lanes, and ancient moss-draped oaks. Adding to the appeal is gracious hospitality, soulful cuisine, and quaint B&Bs. Want to soak in the sights and splendid spring weather? You can’t go wrong with a historic walking tour, horse-drawn carriage ride, or sunset riverboat cruise.

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