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Fuel your wanderlust wish list with the world's top 10 destinations of 2015

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If there's one diversion we just can't resist - more so than a creamy tub of Vacherin or back-to-back episodes of House of Cards - it's daydreaming about our next world trip. 

With deadlines looming and commitments calling, we find our minds inexplicably trespassing the exotic charm of Indonesian beaches, or the beguiling beauty of Norwegian Fjords. 

And that's why we love travel shortlists; they're petrol to our musings. 

Ubiquitous review site TripAdvisor has released its top 10 world destinations of 2015, as part of its ever-popular Travellers’ Choice awards (now in its seventh year). 

Marrakech comes top of the list for the first time in the award's history, based on millions of traveller reviews and opinions posted to the site. 

To determine the winners, researchers used an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a twelve month period.

Marrakech

Marrakech, this year's top-rated destination

The enticing Moroccan city has captivated visitors for centuries with its labyrinthine of souks, ancient palaces, boutiques, picturesque gardens and thriving foodie scene.

Culture vultures will be drawn to attractions such as the Saadian Tombs and the 12th-century Koutoubia Minaret, while people-watchers will revel in Jemaa el Fna, the open-air square and makeshift theatre in the centre of the city where acrobats, drummers, snake charmers, storytellers and comedians gather every night to entertain the crowds.

Steve Jackson, the UK’s Top Contributor of photos to TripAdvisor in 2014 said, "Marrakech is one of those cities that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s a fantastic city to explore, rich in history and culture, and between the sea of street activity, bright colours and striking sunsets, it is a truly intoxicating experience."

Siem Riep

Siem Reap, the home of the Angkor Wat temples

The Cambodian city of Siem Reap lands second place on the list of best-rated world destinations, jumping up seven places from last year. 

The magnificent Angkor Wat temple is at the heart of this town. A sprawling archaeological adventureland (and UNESCO World Heritage Site), it covers 400 square kilometeres dotted with spectacular remains from different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. It was also famously the film location for Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft series. 

Istanbul

Istanbul takes bronze place on the shortlist

Istanbul pops up next, nabbing third place on the list. 

This ethereal Turkish city at the apex of Europe and Asia promises an exhilarating assault on the senses, with towering Ottoman-era minarets and Byzantine churches vying for attention next to an expanding clutch of hip art galleries, restaurants and boutique hotels.

East meets West, with the more traditional aspects of Turkish society existing alongside a thriving and thoroughly modern economic and cultural scene. 

Don't miss the stunning Topkapi Palace, overlooking the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn, or the majestic beauty of the Süleymaniye Mosque, not to mention the rooftop bars and basement jazz cafes that throng the nightlife district of Beyoğlu

Hanoi

Hanoi has the world's best value hotel prices

Up next on the TripAdvisor list of top world destinations is the dynamic Vietnamese city of Hanoi.

This bustling hub in the north of Vietnam offers the cheapest hotel value of any city in the top 10 list, with average summer room rates on TripAdvisor at less than £30 a night – one sixth of the price of an average room over the same period in London (£162.25).

Crowded with contradictions and changing at a dizzying pace, Hanoi is a delight for wannabe adventurers. Jump on the back of a motorbike - the cheapest and easiest way of getting around - to zip through the tiny cobbled streets of the city's old quarter, amid a never-ending chorus of beeping horns and alarming traffic tactics (including a total disregard for rules).

Grab a pint of local Hanoi draft beer and a steaming bowl of pho in one of the many street restaurants, complete with tiny plastic chairs. Awe at the uniquely scruffy elegance of the colonial-era French quarter, make a beeline to the 11th Century Temple of Literature on the charming Hoan Kiem lake, or visit the brilliantly curated Vietnam Museum of Ethnology for a comprehensive history of the country's diverse hill tribes. 

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires ranked eighth on the list

Other cities to make the top 10 include Buenos Aires - the flamboyant "Paris of South America" - and London, which slipped down from third to sixth place on the list compared to last year. 

Rome, named runner-up in the awards last year, dropped five places to seventh, while New York, the best rated US destination, failed to make the world top ten for the second year running. 

TripAdvisor also compiled a list of top 10 UK destinations (using the same algorithm based on millions of reviews), with London, Edinburgh, Llandudno and Torquay all making the list.

See the world and UK destination list in full below, along with average room prices for summer 2015, places to discover and a suggested best hotel for each city.

Let the wander-lusting commence!

Cape Town came in at number 10 on the list

Cape Town came in at number 10


Top 10 Travellers’ Choice destinations in the world

1. Marrakech – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £60.27

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season: Riad Kheirredine, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £121.81 per night.

Places to discover: Jardin Majorelle and Latitude31

2. Siem Reap – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £37.71

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season: Shinta Mani Resort, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £119.77 per night.

Places to discover: Angkor Wat and Palate Angkor Restaurant and Bar

3. Istanbul – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015:  £71.66

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season**: World Heritage Hotel Istanbul, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £91.87 per night.

Places to discover: Basilica Cistern and Mikla Restaurant

4. Hanoi – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £27.06

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season**:  Essence Palace Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £39.47 per night.

Places to discover: Thanh Chuong Viet Palace and Banh Mi 25

5. Prague – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £57.83

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season:  Hotel Residence Agnes, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £132.70 per night.

Places to discover: Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad) and Mistral Café

6. London – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £162.25

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season: CitizenM Bankside, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £170.48 per night.

Places to discover: British Museum and The Five Fields

7. Rome – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £86.72

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season: Palm Gallery Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £125.21 per night.

Places to discover: Piazza Navona and L'Asino d'Oro

8. Buenos Aires – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £63.21

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season: Miravida Soho Hotel and Wine Bar, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £102.75 per night.

Places to discover: Coleccion de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat and I Latina

9. Paris – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £114.34

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season: Hotel Joyce - Astotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £130.66 per night.

Places to discover: Champs-Elysees and Paradis du Fruit

10. Cape Town – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £77.21

Great hotel option with availability during the summer season: Blackheath Lodge, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £100.71 per night.

Places to discover: Cape Point Nature Reserve and Orphanage


Torquay, on the English Riviera,

Torquay, on the English Riviera; the UK's third best destination


The Top 10 Travellers’ Choice destinations in the UK

1. London – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £162.25

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: CitizenM Bankside, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £170.48 per night.

Places to discover: British Museum and The Five Fields

2. Edinburgh – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £146.75

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: Hotel Ceilidh-Donia, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £137.63 per night.

Places to discover: Edinburgh Castle and Café Royal Circle Bar

3. Llandudno – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £91.31

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: The Clontarf Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £73.13 per night.

Places to discover: Great Orme and Orient Express Café Restaurant

4. Torquay – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £91.39

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: Ascot House Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £94.86 per night.

Places to discover: Babbacombe Model Village and Old Vienna Restaurant

5. Liverpool – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £94.66

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: Signature Living Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £84.40 per night.

Places to discover: The Beatles Fab Four Tour and Neon Jamon

6. Blackpool – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £76.21

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: North Ocean Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £67.47 per night.

Places to discover: Blackpool Tramway and McHalls Bistro

7. Belfast – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £97.50

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: Tara Lodge, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £116.35 per night.

Places to discover: Crumlin Road Gaol and Holohan’s

8. York – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £118.79

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: The Groves, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £109.90 per night.

Places to discover: National Railway Museum and The Park Restaurant

9. Keswick – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £139.03

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: The Cottage in the Wood, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £118.23 per night.

Places to discover: Derwentwater and The Square Orange Café Bar

10. Glasgow – Average nightly hotel rate for summer 2015: £90.46

Great value hotel option with availability during the summer season: Sherbrooke Castle Hotel, bookable on TripAdvisor for as little as £175.31 per night.

Places to discover: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Number 16


Words: Anna Brech, Photos: ThinkStock

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