National Geographic's 'cool list' of 2024 features 30 places to check out

ByLilit Marcus, CNN, CNNWire
Monday, November 6, 2023
A view of the Pompeii Archeological Park, near Naples, southern Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.
Andrew Medichini / AP-AP

National Geographic Traveler has published a roster of 30 places and experiences comprising its 2024 'cool list.'

About half the list is in Europe, including areas as diverse as the ruins of Pompeii and the mountains of Albania, which the magazine dubs "Europe's rising star."

But whether you prefer exploring a major world city, traveling for a sporting event or getting away from it all in a remote paradise, there's a nice mix here for just about every kind of explorer.

City breaks

For great food, museums and nightlife, head to some of the cities featured on National Geographic's list.

Among those getting recognition are Xi'an, China, which is best known for the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Terracotta Warriors and Lima, Peru, which has become one of the world's most acclaimed food destinations.

Meanwhile, Tainan, Taiwan's original capital, will be marking its 400th anniversary in 2024, which provides a good excuse to check out its eel noodles, turkey rice, tofu pudding and other street food classics.

States of being

In several cases, National Geographic highlighted entire states. There were two in the US, Texas and New York - each of which is about the size of an entire country in Europe.

National Geographic advises not only visiting New York City - the Empire State is also home to some natural beauty at Lake Placid and Niagara Falls. Meanwhile, Texas has several great spots for admiring 2024's total solar eclipse.

In Victoria, the Australian state home to Melbourne, a new "Great Victorian Bathing Trail" was credited with highlighting the area's lesser-recognized thermal springs.

Meanwhile, National Geographic also lauded the northern Indian state of Sikkim, which is nestled in the Himalayas near the country's borders with Bhutan and Nepal. Its crown jewel is Kangchenjunga, the world's third-tallest mountain.

And Nova Scotia, Canada - which is a province, not a state - was recognized for its Acadian culture. This ethnic group is made up of descendants of Canada's original French settlers, and their cultural heritage is reflected in Nova Scotia's delicious seafood dishes.

Natural wonders

The National Geographic list is heavy on beautiful natural destinations.

Places getting the nod include the Atacama Desert in Chile (the world's driest place), the lush Caribbean island of Dominica and the Andrefana Dry Forests of Madagascar, which are famed for baobab trees.

Scotland has expanded its UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve in Galloway and Southern Ayrshire, hooking them up to a nationwide circuit linking all 13 of Scotland's UNESCO sites.

See the full list below.

The 'cool list' 2024

Albanian Alps, Albania

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Europe by train

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire, Scotland

Nordland, Norway

North Yorkshire, England

Pompeii, Italy

Saimaa, Finland

Tartu, Estonia

The Euros, Germany

Valletta, Malta

Whisky in Wales

Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

Atacama Desert, Chile

Lima, Peru

New York State

Miami, Florida


Nova Scotia, Canada


Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Ibera Wetlands, Argentina

Akagera, Rwanda

Andrefana Dry Forests, Madagascar

Sierra Leone

Sikkim, India

Tainan, Taiwan

Xi'an, China

Victoria, Australia