diak/ShutterstockThis may come as a surprise, but it's also plenty of people's dream to see the "Paris of the Middle East," as Beirut is nicknamed. By the way, do you know what your best travel destination says about you? "Cognizant of today's geopolitical climate, Americans are shifting the conversation from apprehension to understanding and are openly exploring destinations in the Middle East," says Jamee Lubkemann, vice president of American Express Travel. Beirut—one of the world's oldest settlements—is a confluence of history and culture. Admire colonial French architecture and feast on a diversity of culinary delights. Wondering where to stay? Sofitel Beirut Le Gabriel and The Smallville Hotel are top picks.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Boris Stroujko/ShutterstockDubbed the "new Dubai for avid travelers," Tel Aviv is the place to be right now. This cosmopolitan city has so much to offer! Take advantage of its seaside locale with a surf lesson. Foodies will love sampling hummus and falafel at local eateries. Craving some culture? Check out the 1930's Bauhaus buildings and famed museums, like Eretz Israel Museum and Beit Hatfutsot. (Planning your itinerary? You won't want to miss these amazing spots in Israel that are definitely not in your guidebook.) After an action-packed day and night, rest your head at The Rothschild 71 or Cucu Hotel.
Ruslan Kalnitsky/ShutterstockMorocco is trending...and Casablanca is no certainly no exception. From the bustling markets and Moorish architecture to the relaxing hammams (traditional bathhouses) and aromatic cuisine, this vibrant port city is a feast for the senses. Contemporary accommodations, like Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca and Gray Boutique Hotel & Spa Casablanca, as well as new construction projects, such as Parc de la Ligue Arabe and Grande Theatre de Casablanca, are piquing the interest of modern travelers. If you have time to see more of this magical country, Chefchaouen (aka the "blue city") should be a stop on your trip. Chefchaouen also made a spot on our list of the world's most enchanting cities.
photomatz/ShutterstockLooking for a warm-weather escape? Mazatlan, on Mexico's Pacific coast, combines sunny skies, sandy beaches, and old-school character. And before you go, be sure to brush up on these Spanish phrases everyone should know. Centro Histórico (Old Mazatlán) is lined with 19th-century buildings, historic sites, such as Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and Teatro Angela Peralta, and boutique hotels, like Casa Lucila and Casa de Leyendas. While you're there, be sure to sample tacos de cabeza and take a stroll along the Malecón (boardwalk).
S. Borisov/ShutterstockNo matter how many times you venture across the pond, there's always something new to discover. Recognizable landmarks, like Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, are a must for first-timers. And, surely, you'll want to snap a photo crossing Abbey Road or making a call from a phone booth (after all, these are two of the cliché pictures every tourist secretly wants to take). Returning guests can explore the distinctive neighborhoods, from the posh boutiques of Chelsea to the hip pubs and cafes of Shoreditch. Equally diverse are the city's accommodation options. Enjoy the royal treatment at 11 Cadogan Gardens and Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, or book a budget-conscious flat through Airbnb.
MarinaDa/ShutterstockThe City of Lights has long been synonymous with romance (no wonder it's one of the most popular honeymoon destinations), gastronomy, and luxury. Most recently, the renovation and reopening of two legendary properties, Hôtel de Crillon and Ritz Hotel, has peaked the interest of those looking for a posh place to stay. Of course, Paris also offers more affordable options, like Hôtel Fabric and XO Hotel. And while the allure of the Eiffel Tower and Louvre will never fade, these days, a new generation of jetsetters are flocking to the galleries, shops, and cocktails bars in lesser-known districts, like Haut-Marais.