Those who’ve been traveling long enough know that the experience amounts to much more than just the sum of the sights and experiences you get to enjoy – it’s the general atmosphere and the feelings left behind that determine whether a vacation was worth it or not.
There’s a handful of places in the world that make you feel right at home, no matter how far away you’ve come, and that’s the type of travel perk even money can’t buy.
That’s why Booking set out to find the most welcoming cities right now based on more than 309 million verified traveler reviews.
Below, you’ll find the 10 destinations that topped the ranking.
1. Arraial d'Ajuda, Brazil
Nestled in the heart of Bahia, Arraial d'Ajuda beams with the type of authentic Brazilian spirit that’s been long lost in bigger hotspots.
Here, you’ll be greeted with a sense of community and openness, best found among the locals who are not just friendly but foster a genuine passion for sharing their culture.
So, if you happen to get to know someone from Arraial d'Ajuda, don’t be surprised if they invite you to tag along for a nearby street party or even a visit to their home.
2. Ermoupoli, Greece
Standing as proof that Mediterranean hospitality is still alive and well, Ermoupoli welcomes travelers with a genuine sense of generosity and warmth.
Be warned, though, that the people here like to express their commitment to helping you feel accommodated through food, so as long as you feel safe and at ease, try not to say “no” to a local family inviting you to share a meal with them.
Remember – licking your plate clean and sharing fun stories isn’t obligatory but highly recommended.
3. Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Whether it’s the communal gatherings in the town square of abundant smiles you’ll encounter just walking across the street, the people of Viana do Castelo have a way of making you feel right at home.
The great manners that have now become part of the city’s culture can be experienced every time you ask a stranger for help or even go to a local establishment.
There are plenty of Tripadvisor reviews for the local Tourism Office focusing specifically on the kindness and helpfulness of the employees, a trend you’ll notice no matter which restaurant or attraction you’re researching.
4. Daylesford, Australia
The underrated Australian town is a place where everyone you come across feels like a long-lost friend rather than a stranger.
The community’s commitment to supporting local businesses can be felt right as you set foot within Daylesfors’ limits, and it contributes to the overall sense of friendliness the place is known for, so make sure to follow suit.
5. Grindelwald, Switzerland
With jaw-dropping views and sky-high prices, Switzerland is a country that gives travelers a lot to think about before booking those tickets.
However, if you’re planning on exploring Grindelwald, the soul-warming feel of getting to engage with locals in little taverns or participating in the many year-round communal events might just make the high price point feel worth it.
6. Moab, United States
Contrary to what this list might’ve led you to believe thus far, going somewhere warm and inviting doesn’t always mean having to book an overseas flight.
Instead, you can make Moab your next destination of choice – a city that fully embodies that Southwestern hospitality the region prides itself in.
Here, locals love to attend neighborhood festivals as well as organize group outdoor activities, which capture the open and friendly atmosphere you’ll feel all across town.
7. Uzès, France
Though the French have somewhat of a reputation for being cold and indifferent, especially toward English-speaking tourists, that stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to the people of Uzès.
Since the commune is mostly composed of family-owned bistros and quaint shops, those looking to feel the warmth of a tight-knit community will feel right at home here.
8. Mazatlán, Mexico
While there’s no denying the allure of international hotspots like Cancun or Playa Del Carmen, those looking to experience that famous Mexican hospitality might be better off opting for Mazatlán instead.
The locals here take joy in sharing their cheerful attitude and even livelier culture through year-round festivals, upbeat music, and flavorful cuisine that’ll warm your body and soul all in one go.
9. Jaisalmer, India
Jaisalmer is a city found in the gorgeous Thar Desert, but it’s the warmth of the locals that’ll truly leave you stunned.
Just take a stroll along one of the bustling markets found in every corner of the city to experience part of their famous welcoming spirit.
However, keep in mind that the people of Jaisalmer are not just hosts, they’re storytellers, eager to share the interesting turns and twists of their lives, so make sure to show interest and be open and communicative in return.
10. Fujikawaguchiko, Japan
Travelers looking for a more serene escape might want to travel a bit further east to Fujikawaguchiko, a place whose breathtaking beauty is only overshadowed by the calm, loving nature of its locals.
The people of Fujikawaguchiko are deeply connected to nature (who wouldn’t be when surrounded by the Fuji Five Lakes?).
They’re quiet but always ready to extend their kindness to travelers from all over the world – a sentiment that can be felt through everything from serene tea ceremonies to communal hot spring baths.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.