5 Trending Destinations That Are Actually Worth Visiting

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When you see any one vacation spot plastered all over the Internet, it can be hard to tell whether that place is actually worth visiting or if it’s just another overrated tourist trap. We’ve compiled a list of five top trending destinations that are absolutely worth the trip — plus what to see, do and eat to make your visit a smashing success.

Paris, France

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Paris has always topped the list of popular tourist destinations. As the capital of the most-visited country in the world, the "City of Lights" draws people near and far to experience its stunning collection of museums, landmarks, shopping and gourmet food. But no matter how crowded Paris gets, it will never be overrated — after all, it’s Paris.

If you head to Paris, you have to see all of the classic sights: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Versailles. But we recommend also getting off the beaten path and going somewhere different. La Pagode, for example, is a Japanese pagoda that’s used as a movie theater — there’s nowhere else you get to drink a ginseng tea after you watch the film. The Montmartre Vineyard is closed to the public, but is still a beautiful area to explore. And hidden-gem restaurants such as Le Derriere with its secret smoking room will leave you feeling as if you truly got the genuine Paris experience.

Maui, HI, United States

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There's never a bad time to visit Hawaii. And Maui remains a top island for the sun-seeking crowd. On this tropical port you can swim with sea turtles, attend a luau and hike volcanoes — and if that isn’t the quintessential Hawaii experience, we don’t know what is. What else should you do on Maui to make your visit unforgettable? Walk along the black sand beach in Waianapanapa State Park, tour a pineapple farm and make sure to consume plenty of shaved ice. Top off your Maui vacation in style by staying at the North Shore Lookout and eating at Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop (where pies sell out early, so get there fast).

Puebla, Mexico

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Located southeast of Mexico City, Puebla is widely known for its cuisine, pottery and colonial architecture. Don’t scroll past those colorful Instagram photos, dismissing it as overrated — Puebla is 100 percent worth a visit in person. Take in the city views from one of the Puebla Cathedral’s bell towers, shop for beautiful handmade items at the Sagrado Mercadito and see the Dance of the Flyers (an indigenous tradition).

Plus, it’s almost worth visiting Puebla just for the food. Mole poblano is a delicious traditional sauce made with chocolate and chili pepper. Chalupas are fried corn tortillas that are topped with chicken or beef, salsa and onion and sold on the street. And chumiate is a drink made with cane alcohol and capulin, a fruit that’s like a cherry.

Lisbon, Portugal

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Lisbon is having its day in the sun — literally. Searches and bookings for the sunny Potuguese city are way up, and it's easy to see why. As one of the least-expensive cities to visit in Western Europe, vacationing here is easy and laid-back, just like its people.

Hike up and down the city's seven hills, snapping photos at numerous scenic viewpoints along the way. Explore the city's collection of museums, like the MAAT or the National Tile Museum. Hop aboard a historic tram through the Alfama District up to São Jorge Castle. Gorge on pastel de nata in Belem, go surfing along the coast and when the sun sets let Fado music lull you into a relaxed stupor.  

Great Smoky Mountains, TN, United States

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The Great Smoky Mountains are a popular U.S. destination when you need a little time away. Stretching along the Tennessee/North Carolina border, this national park is the most-visited in the country and provides the perfect place for hiking, exploring and finding hidden gems. Some travelers stay in a resort, others book a unique Airbnb and still others choose to camp or glamp.

Wherever you stay, make sure to do plenty of outdoor exploration. Our top picks: Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, where you can go on a half-mile hike to an observation tower that strongly resembles a spaceship. Cades Cove, a beautiful valley where you can hike or drive, is also a must. And finally, the Biltmore House will make your Great Smoky Mountains vacation totally worth the trip.

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