The World's Best: The Ultimate Book For The International Traveler

The World's Best: The Ultimate Book For The International Traveler

We asked our International Living network of over 200 seasoned travelers and expatriates to spill all their best-kept secrets… and they obliged:

Hidden mountain monasteries in Bulgaria… celebrated honeymoon spots from Paris to Macau… breathtaking beaches dotting the Caribbean… the hidden sights
of Europe… exotic markets in China…

Dirt-cheap dinners in Central America… raucous nightlife in Brazil… strange festivals in Ireland… unspoiled coastlines everywhere…

The result is a rare glimpse into 4,481 of the
world's most fascinating places to go and things
to do ever assembled…

Dear Reader,

Every traveler has precious moments they can recount after a fabulous trip.

The romantic café you accidentally stumble upon down a cobblestone alley in Paris, where time stands still for an entire afternoon. The locals-only market in Shanghai where you discover bargains beyond what you imagined possible for a tourist. The 1,000-year-old cathedral you traipse through in Rome—when you close your eyes, you can still see the light streaming through the stained glass just so at sunset.

At International Living, we're lucky to have people who share these private moments with us all the time… too lucky, in fact, to keep them selfishly to ourselves.

So we compiled literally thousands of our favorites for you to explore and enjoy, and we've humbly called it The World's Best: The Ultimate Book for the International Traveler.

This is, by far, our most ambitious publication. I think the result will surprise you. Or amuse you. Maybe even excite and inspire you.

I can tell you this, you'll be a little breathless when you open the first page and look at the table of contents. Here's why…

A Little of Everything… From Everywhere

The World's Best is exactly that—a subjective set of bests culled from more than 200 seasoned travelers and expatriates around the world who are affiliated with International Living. It spans 76 countries across six continents… and is contained within 800 pages… barely!

It isn't exactly the stuff of guidebooks… although it is chock-full of phone numbers, addresses, and directions to incredible places. It isn't exactly a history lesson… although you get snippets of stories behind the places that will make you laugh, and a few that will make you cry.

It is more of a traveler's log, with notes to a dear friend in the margins. From the sites you shouldn't miss to the restaurants you might unless you know where to look for them.

We didn't give our contributors a template, or a word count, like most publishers do. We didn't just have them collect a bunch of brochures, or call the Ministry of Tourism for a general overview. Believe it or not, we weren't looking for quantity of information (though we got that, too!), but quality. The quirks as well as the straightforward facts:

  • When in Rome… the locals usher in the New Year by buying distinctive new, red underwear… from the silly to the sublime. You'll know which shops have the best selection if you want to join in. (p.427)
  • The cheapest place for expensive coffee… drink the world's most expensive coffee from Jamaica's highest mountain for less than you would pay anywhere in the world. (p.223)
  • Escape from Paris… discover the best place to linger over long meals in the French countryside… famous truffles, game, crayfish, and morels… washed down with a local Bergerac. (p.309)
  • The timeless, endless summer… discover the land of endless summer, where you are surrounded by rainforests, orchids, and warm waves. A place where life is lazy, no one worries about the time… and it's only 40 minutes away from one of the busiest cities in Mexico. (p.496)
  • Matchmaker, matchmaker… in a tiny Irish town with only 700 people—the men are men and the women are scarce. How's a guy supposed to get a date, let alone find a mate? Easy. Host an annual matchmaking festival that attracts another 7,000 people who are looking for love, too. Find a match… or at least dance until dawn while you browse. (p.419)
  • The most extensive collection of Pharaonic artspend hours wandering around this museum which houses over 120,000 pieces, including the famous mask of the "boy king" Tutankhamun. (p.31)

The World's Best covers so much ground you'll have jetlag by page 400 (by then we are in India)… and you're still only half-way through (there's still North and South America, Japan and South-East Asia to go!).

Seriously, I was amazed at the massive amount of material we collected when we put out the call. There are enough snippets of history and storytelling to give you the flavor of a place, but not so much that you get bogged down. Enough inside information to give you an edge, but not so much that you miss out on the main attractions.

Even if you're a seasoned traveler, you're sure to discover more than a few places that weren't on your must-see list. Until now.

(Personally, I was ready to book a trip around page 166 when I read about Bulgaria's spa resorts. The country has more than 220 mineral water springs which, along with the mud along the Black Sea coast, are believed to have curative properties. One of the best spa resorts in the world is here with its abundance of sunshine and rich vegetation which make for a very relaxing stay. For some, this is armchair travel at its best. No need to board a plane… unless you desperately want to… instead, you can enjoy The World's Best from a cozy spot in your living room.

For others, the urge to run to your computer and book a flight will be almost impossible to resist. So why fight it?

Why We Think This is
'The Ultimate Book for the International Traveler'

It's almost impossible to sum up the magnitude of The World's Best… and that's just the point. Of course, there are hundreds of places that you might already know, such as:

  • The grandeur and sanctity of the Vatican (p.425)
  • The sacred Ganges River (p.398)
  • The infamous and beautiful Tiananmen Square (p.229)
  • The art-lover's Louvre (p.282)
  • The amazing "hidden" city of Machu Picchu (p.530)
  • The Acropolis in the heart of ancient Athens (p.347)
  • The puzzling Sphinx (p.36)
  • Germany's Black Forest (p.328)
  • Italy's incomparable Ponte Vecchio (p.431)
  • The Great Barrier Reef that stretches from New Guinea to the Tropic of Capricorn (p.72)
  • India's opulent Taj Mahal (p.379)

Embrace a vast and diverse world

Then, there are the "signature" aspects of each country… the places you must see, and the things you must do. It's more than you can squeeze into one lifetime—but it's certainly worth a try:

  • Go elephant trekking in South-East Asia (p.581)
  • Explore the last primeval forest of central Europe in a horse-drawn carriage (p.536)
  • Hide from the 100+ inches of snow that falls on Montreal in the winter… and do a little underground shopping while you're there (p.779)
  • Get lost in Venice—literally—at Il Labirinto. No worries, the caretaker can come and lead you out of the four mile, hedge-lined maze if you can't find your way out (p.436)
  • Tour scuba Mecca's in Palau, Israel, Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, Belize, and the little-known Caribbean island of Saba (p.766)
  • Sidle up to a sheep-shearing contest in New Zealand (p.515)
  • Indulge in the Spanish passion for paella (p.601)
  • Catch a besuboru game at the best stadium in Japan (p.463)
  • Hang out in the best bistros in Paris—whisper sweet-nothings to your amour or talk politics… the choice is yours (p.296)
  • Watch leaping lemurs in Madagascar (p.17)

    Plus, hundreds of little surprises and curiosities, like:

    • The best place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the Caribbean—which happens to correspond with the famous slave revolt against wealthy plantation owners over 100 years ago (p.208)
    • Why you still should visit the ugliest, most polluted city in China (p.239)
    • Where to find the largest collection of second-hand designer scarves—hand-painted, hand-sewn works of art that can go for $400 or more a-piece—at half-price (p.289)
    • Eighty-two feet underground you'll find 156 miles of endlessly branching tunnels where the bones of victims of The Terror in 1785 were carried… bring a flashlight and take the creepiest tour in all of Europe (p.293)
    • If you don't think of France as a prime surfer's destination, you will. At night when you ditch your board, you can recoup in a bed where Queen Victoria and Edward VII slept, among others (p.315)
    • Forget the beer and bratwurst, instead, indulge in wine, hard cider and jazz in this hip, hot German playground for the young, single and hard-bodied crowd (p.322)
    • See the largest collection of cuckoos (the birds, not the clocks!)… the normally shy bird that is rarely seen or heard anywhere else in the world is perfectly at home here… and cuckoos like crazy all day long (p.328)
    • Visit the "Venice of China"—a maze of canals wind through small whitewashed houses and weeping willows, this town is the romantic pulse of China (p.245)
    • Find out where international traders flock from around the world—gathering in April and October every year (p.237)
    • The best place to buy a carpet… and it's not in the Middle East (p.771)
    • The park that houses one of the finest Japanese Palaces surrounded by willows and eucalyptus groves, can be found in Brazil (p.113)
    • The world's best facelift vacation package—a third of the price in the U.S. and comes complete with an escort in a private car (p.486)
    • A jazz nightclub in China? Absolutely… and if you tip the house band a couple of dollars they'll play your favorites all night long (p.242)

    Use Our Best to Discover Your Best

    Our best may not be your best. To some, the best means the most expensive, luxurious digs in town. Like the Claridge's Hotel in London—where a Hungarian Quartet plays in the lobby (and have been for nearly a century), liveried attendants greet you at your door and dress-maids are available to help you choose what you'd like to wear for the evening.

    To others, it's knowing the best place to go to get the inside scoop on the town and its major characters. Like Eva's in Belize, where you get the cheapest food… and all the local gossip.

    Woven throughout the newest edition of The World's Best, you'll find the fodder for creating your own personal best list. Start with ours, and explore from there. After all, most great adventures start with a tour guide of some sort. Maybe it's a book. Or the local guy you meet when you sidle up to the bar and have a drink before you get settled in your hotel.

    There's a strange balance—one that every experienced traveler understands—between embracing such a vast and diverse world, and breaking it down into cherished moments when it feels small… and uniquely your own.

    Our first edition of The World's Best dates back to 1986—and was just 207 pages. The world has changed so much since then. The Berlin Wall came down, Eastern Europe opened its doors to foreign travelers, China joined the World Trade Organization, sleepy Caribbean islands woke up, and Central America started coming back to life one small, impoverished country at a time.

    The world seems to have gotten much bigger in the intervening years. Yet, at the same time, it seems smaller and more accessible than ever.

    I certainly wouldn't presume to call The World's Best complete. Even 200 people don't have a handle on such a vast and glorious place.

    But I can tell you that you will discover nooks and crannies that you never knew existed, experiences you'll want to have for yourself, and a wish-list longer than a child's at Christmas of places to go and things to do.

    Take a look at this list… it is merely a smattering of this impressive, and slightly quirky, compilation of The World's Best:

    • Decadence in Germany—450 kinds of bread, 1,000 kinds of sausage, and 1,000 different cheeses await you at Berlin's equivalent of Harrod's (p.319)
    • The best afternoon tea in Dublin…in the building where the Irish constitution was drafted (p.410)
    • The most authentic castle stay in Scotland—no tartan drapes or armor anywhere (p.158)
    • The best place to be single in Japan (p. 474)
    • A cheap date in Portugal that won't make you look bad (p.541)
    • Watch the most macho surfers paddle through crashing waves during Sydney's most imaginative water festival (p. 64)
    • Where to stay in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest (p.118)
    • 500-year-old mountain monasteries that will keep you pious in Bulgaria (p.165)
    • The world's most mysterious rock in Queensland (p.75) and the best place for a festival in the Outback (p.78)

    You will discover nooks and crannies that you never knew existed, experiences you'll want to have for yourself, and a wish-list longer than a child's at Christmas of places to go and things to do.

    • The best mint tea in Morocco--and why you must drink three glasses (p.51)
    • The prettiest town in the most maligned state in the U.S.—it's not Newark, but you're close! (p.665)
    • The best bathtub race in Vancouver (p.198)
    • Where to go to try Asia's most dangerous food—you need a license to prepare it or death is imminent! (p.465)
    • The Caribbean's best bird watching where you can expect to see no less than 136 species of birds (p.205)
    • The best way to send a message from Nairobi (hint: it's not e-mail!) (p.6)
    • Forgotten French towns--in Canada (p.189)
    • The best way to get a hangover in the Caribbean… and the best way to avoid one (p.211)
    • Original William Spratling silver—and discounts of 25% to 50% on everything from silver candelabras to jewelry (p.488)
    • The world's best colored gems (for 25% less than you'd find in New York) (p.119)
    • The most colorful festival in India—where you'll witness the symbolic destruction of evil (p.379)
    • Seven hundred and fifty acres of botanical beauty you won't want to miss just northeast of Guangzhou (p.237)
    • A dinner treat you'll love: Moreton Bay bugs and Victorian yabbies (p.81)
    • The steamiest side trip in San Miguel (p.487)
    • The priciest café in Paris where an espresso will set you back $8—maybe more depending on the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro that day (p.283)
    • The best "almost free" lunch in Ecuador (p.278)
    • The saddest sight in Dallas (p.688)
    • The oldest living things on earth (p.227)
    • Rome's best-kept secret (a town with no tourists for miles!) (p.426)
    • A car-free Alsatian town that clings to a vine-covered hill—and has some of the best white wine in Europe (p.309)
    • Butterfly kisses in Mexico (p.487)
    • The magic of Madrid during Holy Week (p.625)
    • The famous seven pagodas guarded by statues of an elephant, a lion, and a bull in the ancient city of Mammallapuram (p.394)
    • The best roast beef in London (p. 131)
    • More Rembrandt than anywhere else in the world (p.317)
    • The door to the underworld (p.439)
    • The most frightening sights in Poland: from the Mausoleum to Struggle and Martyrdom to a less obvious manhole cover through which 5,300 insurgents escaped the sewer canal during the Warsaw uprising. (p.533)
    • The red-light district of Shanghai known as Blood Alley—with the best opium dens and brothels, even today (p.240)
    • The three best ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in London (p.126)

    Even if you're a seasoned traveler, you're sure to discover more than a few places that weren't on your must-see list. Until now.

    • Beautiful bodies and the hottest nightlife on Portugal's southern coast (p.543)
    • The world-famous opera house that was dubbed the "Operasaurus" by locals when it first opened (p.59)
    • The best "ghost walk" in the only genuinely haunted burial grounds in Scotland where thousands of 17th-century plague victims are buried beneath grassy slopes (p.157)
    • Ski with the stars in Austria—at the resort where tour groups are verboten (p.756)
    • Not for the faint-hearted: discover the most exotic market in China, where live animals (of all kinds!) await slaughter and organs you have never heard of are for sale (p.774)
    • When to give baksheesh, and when to say Emshee! while traveling in Egypt (p.47)
    • The place known as "the end of the world"—before the New World was discovered (p.544)
    • The best star-gazing, where every constellation in the sky is visible every night of the year (p.5)
    • The best cigar shop in the world—and its not in Havana (p.298)

    I could go on and on, and still only mention a fraction of what is contained in The World's Best. It is truly a treat for the senses, and the imagination, that is not to be missed.

    The Best Deal On The World's Best

    I have to admit that I'm spoiled. When I'm going somewhere—almost anywhere in the world—I have a rolodex that points me to the nearest International Living country expert. I am accustomed to getting the inside scoop on just about any place I want to go. From the biggest and best attractions, to the little hole-in-the-wall dives that serve the best food and spark the most animated conversations.

    You should enjoy that same privilege—the chance to go anywhere in the world you can imagine, and glimpse a little slice of life in that area before you jump on the plane. If you also love to travel, I probably don't need to tell you how valuable that kind of access is to globe-trotters like us.

    Consider this: When you go to a nice hotel and ask the concierge where to go for a romantic dinner… perhaps one where you will propose to your beloved, you would think nothing of slipping him a $5 tip for his trouble, maybe more. Right?

    Choose from romantic getaways and hideaways around the globe

    When you have The World's Best, you can choose from romantic restaurants and hideaways around the globe and test out the right atmosphere to pop the big question before settling on one.

    When you go to a new city, and you engage a taxi to take you along a scenic drive—you'll tip him handsomely for his thoughtful service. And you hope his idea of scenic matches up with yours.

    The World's Best provides you with an entire chapter of details on scenic drives… from Highway 1 on the West Coast of the U.S., past barking sea lions and secret beach access along the way… to the fairytale trail in Germany, past the homes of Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and the rest of the Grimm Brothers gang… to the best route from Nairobi all the way to Nakuru, past the sites where the earliest traces of man were discovered.

    Each of these little treasures alone is invaluable. If you order The World's Best today—while it's hot off the presses—you'll pay a fraction of a cent for each of the thousands of bests we've assembled. For just $39.95—less than you'd pay for dinner and a movie in any major U.S. city--you can indulge in hours of global daydreaming and hopeful trip planning.

    And, of course, if you're at all disappointed—which I can't imagine—feel free to send it back for a full refund within 30 days.

    How To Hold The World In Your Hands

    As you log thousands of miles and cross over rivers, valleys and oceans, the only thing you'll miss are the frequent flyer miles you'd accumulate if you had to pack your bags and hop on a plane, rather than merely turn the page to get from one place to the next.

    It will likely be another 20 years before we undertake such a project again… most of us here at International Living are going to be too busy checking out each other's "best" recommendations. So I hope you won't delay and will reserve your copy now.

    Just click here to go back to the top of the page and click "Add To Cart".

    Hope to see you at the Aurora Borealis… sometime this decade.


    Jackie Flynn,
    Publisher, International Living

    P.S. Engaged? Browse The World's Best for a honeymoon destination. Love to shop? Explore the entire section devoted to the world's best shopping. Crave sports? Discover sporting destinations that may not make it onto ESPN… you might have to check them out for yourself. Take a moment now and get your copy while they last. I dare you to tell me you can't find anything here that piques your curiosity and gets your heart racing with excitement. Care to take the challenge?

    Please Note: We estimate you'll receive your copy of The World's Best: The Ultimate Book For The International Traveler in 5-10 working days within the U.S. Please allow some additional time for international delivery.


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