To compile this list of the World’s Greatest Places, the top spots to visit this year, TIME solicited nominations of places from its international network of correspondents and contributors, with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences.
The list features prominent towns like Doha in Qatar where 100 new hotels are being opened to accommodate participants of the World Cup between November and December.
Often described as the friendliest African city, Kigali has been selected for its initiatives to push toward a green future, especially for its growing tourism trade.
These include GuraRide, the new Rwandan bike-sharing app which provides easy, affordable access to scooters, road bikes, and e-bikes, with docks peppered throughout the city.
Kigali is also upgrading its roads as part of the recently launched Kigali Infrastructure Project, which aims to ease congestion, provide more direct connection among hard-to-reach neighborhoods, and reduce pollution.
Newly created car-free zones, the most recent launched in Gisimenti, let residents and visitors take back city streets on weekends.
More investment has yielded more development in the tourism sector in the last year. The first 18-hole golf course in the city, at the new Kigali Golf Resort and Villas, hosted its first golf tournament last December.
These activities are an addition to the opening of the Nyandungu Wetland Ecotourism Park early in January which safeguards 121 hectares of endangered wetlands, including more than 70 bird species and a fig forest—viewable from walking routes and cycling paths.
Located southeast of Kigali, Bugesera International Airport is set to deliver more direct flights. Other infrastructures include a new Four Points by Sheraton opened in Kigali in June, just in time to house attendees of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The annual list also features four best destinations in Africa including Nairobi City in Kenya, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Franschhoek town in South Africa and Lower Zambezi Park in Zambia.
Other outstanding destinations on the list include Ras Al Khaimah (UAE), Park City (Utah), Galápagos Islands, Dolni Morava (Repubulika ya Tcheque), Seoul (Korea y’Epfo), Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Doha, (Qatar), Detroit, Kerala (u Buhinde), The Arctic, Ahmedabad (India), València (Espagne), Queenstown, (Vouvelle Zelande), Historic Silk Road Sites (Uzbekistan), São Paulo (Brazil) and Trans Bhutan Trail (Bhutan) among others.