A panoramic view of magical Mostar at dusk

Lonely Planet’s best cities to travel to in 2024

Discover the 10 best cities to add to your travel list for 2024

Published on 27 Dec 2023

In a world that continually beckons us to explore, there's something profoundly exciting about a new year dawning with a fresh list of travel destinations. Lonely Planet, our trusted compass in the world of travel, has once again unveiled its carefully curated selection of cities to visit in 2024. 

Join us as we embark on a virtual journey through the remarkable cities that have captured Lonely Planet's imagination for the year ahead. From hidden gems to cultural hubs, these cities promise adventure, discovery and the chance to create unforgettable travel tales.

Mostar, Bosnia

“Long a favourite among backpackers and lovers of the Balkans, Mostar’s unforgettably scenic, minaret-dotted medieval Old Town and infamous bridge now draws visitors for more than a day trip.” 

Mostar, a picturesque city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a captivating blend of history, culture and stunning natural beauty. Its iconic Stari Most stands as a testament to the city’s resilience, having been rebuilt after the Bosnian War.

 The charming Old Bazaar, with its cobblestone streets, offers a glimpse into Mostar’s rich Ottoman past, while the Neretva River’s turquoise waters invite you to take a refreshing plunge. Mostar’s warm hospitality and vibrant arts scene add to its allure, making it a place where East meets West and history and modernity coexist harmoniously in a captivating Balkan setting. 

Lonely Planet’s Mostar highlights:

  1. The monumental Ottoman-era buildings are some of Europe’s finest examples of Islamic architecture. Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, Kajtaz House, Sevri Hadži Hasan Mosque and Biscevic House are unmissable, as is the serene Dervish House, just 20 minutes out of town.
  2. Grab a slice of burek. This moreish pastry, originally from Turkey, is a staple across former Ottoman Empire countries – and Bosnia's is known to be the best in the Balkans. The best in town can be found at Buregdžinica Rođeni. Choose between cheese, spinach or meaty fillings.
  3. A day trip to the popular Kravica Waterfall is always a good idea, but if you're on a budget, head instead to the smaller Koćuša Waterfall, which is free to visit.

Manaus, Brazil

“A poetic collision of steamy spectacle and ecotourism adventure awaits in Manaus.” 

Manaus, nestled in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, is a city of captivating contrasts. It serves as the gateway to the world’s largest tropical rainforest, making it a haven for eco-adventurers and nature enthusiasts. The city’s stunning opera house, Teatro Amazonas, stands as a testament to its belle époque heritage during the rubber boom era. 

Manaus is a bustling urban centre surrounded by lush wilderness, where the Amazon River meets the Rio Negro. Visitors can explore the exotic flora and fauna of the rainforest, experience indigenous cultures and embark on unforgettable river excursions, immersing themselves in the breathtaking beauty of the Amazon basin.

Lonely Planet’s Manaus highlights:

  1. Relive the rubber boom at the Teatro Amazonas, Manaus' opera house and Belle Époque architectural superstar.
  2. Local ingredients are paramount at Restaurant Banzeiro, an Amazonian dining destination from chef Felipe Schaedler.
  3. Only accessible by boat, the floury, narrow river beach of Praia da Lua is the city's postcard-perfect patch of sand.
  4. Witness the magnificent meeting of the waters, Encontro das Águas, where the powerhouse Negro and Solimões rivers clash.

Montréal, Canada

“Montréal’s all-season calendar of festivals, changing neighbourhoods, au courant galleries and quirky shops are among the many reasons it has long been one of Canada’s coolest destinations.” 

Montréal, the vibrant metropolis in the heart of Québec, Canada, is a city of rich cultural diversity and dynamic energy. Its distinct blend of French and English heritage creates a unique fusion of cultures, evident in its cuisine, architecture and lively arts scene. Montréal is known for its stunning historic districts, including Old Montréal, adorned with cobblestone streets and centuries-old architecture. 

The city hosts a year-round calendar of festivals, celebrating everything from jazz to comedy. Whether you’re exploring its vibrant neighbourhoods, indulging in its world-class dining or admiring its scenic Mont-Royal, Montréal offers an inviting and cosmopolitan experience in the heart of Canada.

Lonely Planet’s Montréal highlights:

  1. There’s always something new at Musée des Beaux-arts de Montréal, whether you’re into classical or contemporary art. 
  2. For views across the city, wander the green oasis of Parc du Mont-Royal on Montréal’s mountain.
  3. Go beyond poutine at dining spots including French-Moroccan Nili, modern Korean 9 Tail Fox and forager-favourite Anemone.
  4. Other culinary highlights are the city’s markets, from classics like Marché Jean-Talon to newer options like gourmet Le Central. 

Prague, Czech Republic

“A pulsating capital cloaked in a Gothic cityscape, Prague’s iconic attractions almost feel too beautiful to be real.” 

Prague, the enchanting capital of the Czech Republic, is a living fairy tale. Its historic heart, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts a stunning medieval and baroque architectural ensemble, including the iconic Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock. 

The Vtlava River weaves through the city, adding to its picturesque charm. Prague’s rich history is palpable in every cobblestone street, while its vibrant arts and music scene keeps the city alive with culture. The city’s hearty cuisine and renowned beer culture add to its allure. Prague’s magical ambience and timeless beauty make it a must-visit destination, where history, art and romance harmoniously coexist. 

Lonely Planet’s Prague highlights:

  1. Join locals as they come to relax at Náplavka, a Saturday morning farmer's market on a pretty stretch of the Vltava riverbank.
  2. Art nouveau Smetana Hall, inside Municipal House, is arguably Central Europe's most stunning concert venue.
  3. North of the centre, Stromovka Park is an enormous expanse of manicured greenery and a favourite spot for quiet walks.
  4. Enjoy a perfectly poured Pilsner beer with accompaniments like goulash and bread dumplings at Lokál, a well-run pub.

Paris, France

“A city constantly reinventing the wheel - a pharmacy prescribing books, photography exhibitions afloat the Seine, a triangle-shaped glass skyscraper.” 

Paris, often referred to as the City of Love, is an enchanting tapestry of culture, history and romance. Nestled along the banks of the Seine River, it boasts iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum, home to the enigmatic Mona Lisa. 

Paris is a culinary mecca, with charming cafes, patisseries and world-class restaurants where you can savour exquisite cuisine and fine wines. Its charming streets, cobblestone alleys and the Seine’s picturesque bridges provide an idyllic backdrop for leisurely strolls. Paris’s timeless allure continues to captivate visitors, making it a destination where art, fashion and romance converge harmoniously. 

Lonely Planet’s Paris highlights:

  1. Be surprised by modern art at Collection Pinault in the Bourse de Commerce, a former grain market and stock exchange. 
  2. Hunt for flea-market treasures and go for a feast in the new gourmet food court at the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen.
  3. Admire 17th-century garden design and Monet’s waterlilies on murals in the elegant Jardin des Tuileries in the city centre.
  4. Clink rooftop cocktails at Le Perchoir, with branches in the hipster 11e or on Europe's largest urban farm in the 15e.

Jakarta, Indonesia

“This cosmopolitan city is still the place to indulge in urban comforts before venturing into the nation’s remoter corners.”

Jakarta, the bustling capital of Indonesia, is a city of vibrant contrasts. It’s a dynamic fusion of tradition and modernity, with soaring skyscrapers juxtaposed against historic mosques and temples. As the country’s political, economic and cultural hub, Jakarta offers a diverse array of experiences, from exploring its lively street markets and savouring its eclectic street food to delving into its rich history at museums and galleries. 

Despite its urban hustle, Jakarta’s green spaces, like Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, provide respite. This metropolis thrives as a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, making it a fascinating and ever-evolving destination in Southeast Asia

Lonely Planet’s Jakarta highlights:

  1. On Sunday mornings, enjoy a stroll along stretches of Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin, empty of the usual swirl of cars.
  2. Zoom to the top of the 132m-high (433ft) Monas tower in city-centre Merdeka Square, for soaring skyline views.
  3. Catch a weekend show at Museum Wayang, with its intricate collection of some of the finest shadow puppets ever created.
  4. Hundreds of kite designs hide in a mansion at Museum Layang-Layang – look for an enormous fish and a horse and cart.

Nairobi, Kenya

“Kenya’s capital is staking its claim as a global centre of culture, sizzling with unmissable travel experiences.” 

Nairobi, the bustling capital of Kenya, is a vibrant metropolis that seamlessly blends modernity with the natural beauty of Africa. This dynamic city serves as a gateway to some of the continent’s most spectacular wildlife reserves, including the iconic Maasai Mara. 

Nairobi is also known for its rich cultural heritage, with museums, art galleries and a thriving music scene. The city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere is complimented by lush parks and green spaces, offering a refreshing escape from the urban sprawl. With its diverse population, stunning landscapes and thriving business hub, Nairobi encapsulates the essence of Kenya’s vibrant spirit and promising future. 

Lonely Planet’s Nairobi highlights:

  1. Watch a performance of traditional music and dance at the Bomas of Kenya for a lightning-fast tour of the country.
  2. Walk through the Ngong Hills Forest at sunrise for views of Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro on a clear day. 
  3. Visit the Nairobi National Park for a safari on a budget with the city’s evolving skyline as a backdrop. 
  4. Climb the top of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre for a 360-degree view of the city. 

İzmir, Turkey

“A city that prides itself on living the good life, İzmir’s seaside location, fresh Aegean cuisine and blend of rediscovered heritage and revitalised contemporary culture merits a turn in the spotlight.”

İzmir, located on the stunning Aegean coast of Turkey, is a city where history and modernity collide gracefully. Once known as Smyrna in antiquity, it’s a place where ancient ruins blend seamlessly with a bustling contemporary cityscape. 

The city’s historic Agora, towering Kadifekale Castle and the remnants of Roman-era structures pay homage to its rich heritage. İzmir’s vibrant waterfront promenades, lively bazaars and vibrant arts scene add to its allure. With its Mediterranean climate and welcoming atmosphere, İzmir offers a taste of both the past and the present, making it a captivating destination on Turkey’s western coast. 

Lonely Planet’s İzmir highlights:

  1. Have a seaside meal of fresh fish and mezé (small plates) with free-flowing rakı (anise spirit) at Balıkçı Hasan, Deniz or Veli Usta.
  2. There’s always more to discover while winding through the historical Kemeraltı bazaar district, with shops of every variety.
  3. The İzmir Festival brings concerts and dance performances each June and July to unique venues such as the ancient Roman agora.
  4. Taste local wines from small boutique vintners amid the rolling hills of Urla, west along the coast.

Kansas City, USA

“Kansas City has so much to sing about in 2024. The city’s building the first stadium dedicated to a women’s sports team, has an ever-evolving, top-tier culinary scene and is set to open a new entertainment district.” 

Kansas City, often known as the Heart of America, is a dynamic city straddling the border of Missouri and Kansas. Famed for its rich jazz heritage, it resonates with a lively musical spirit that fills the air. 

The city’s historic district, 18th & Vine, is a hub of jazz history, with museums celebrating legends like Charlie Parker. Beyond music, Kansas City boasts a thriving culinary scene, renowned for its barbecue, craft breweries and diverse cuisine. The city’s vibrant arts community, green parks and friendly Midwestern hospitality make it an inviting destination, where culture, flavour and warmth converge in the heart of the nation. 

Lonely Planet’s Kansas City highlights:

  1. Go big on barbecue – Ted Lasso's ‘Joe Arthur Gatestack' T-shirt is an in-joke at the crux of KC's gluttonous dilemma, so try them all: Joe's, Arthur Bryant's, Gates and Jack Stack.
  2. Beyond burnt ends – KC's food scene is increasingly diverse and nationally recognised. Try authentic Palestinian food at Baba's Pantry and Mexican drinks at Café Ollama.
  3. During Prohibition, Kansas City was called ‘Paris of the Plains' because the flow of alcohol never ceased, thanks to political boss Tom Pendergast. The spirit (and spirits) of the era have been revived at distilleries such as J. Rieger Co. and Tom's Town.

Philadelphia, USA

“At the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers sits the nation’s first World Heritage City, the birthplace of the United States and the City of Brotherly Love.” 

Philadelphia, often referred to as the City of Brotherly Love, is a historic gem in the heart of the United States. It’s where the Founding Fathers gathered to draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the city’s historic district preserves this rich heritage with landmarks like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. 

Beyond its historical significance, Philadelphia offers a thriving cultural scene, world-class museums and a vibrant food scene, known for its iconic cheesesteaks and diverse culinary offerings. With a dynamic blend of past and present, Philadelphia warmly welcomes visitors to explore its history, arts and vibrant urban culture. 

Lonely Planet’s Philadelphia highlights:

  1. Roam the historic Italian Market area for antipasti at Di Bruno Bros, tacos at South Philly Barbacoa and a clash of cheesesteak titans.
  2. Newly legit after years as an ad-hoc outfit, the Southeast Asian Market (Apr-Oct) has Cambodian, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
  3. In the Reading Terminal Market halls, find Bassetts Ice Cream, Dutch Eating Place apple dumplings and Termini Bros cannoli.
  4. Book at Zahav, Michael Solomonov's empire-launching palace of mezze, salatim and al ha'esh delights.
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