If you like to travel, chances are you've visited all of the popular tourist spots around the country or around the world. If you're looking for some other interesting places to visit, consider the warmest and coldest travel destinations you can visit. If you've been to all the locations on this list, chances are you've been everywhere. For those who haven't, checking off visiting these places looks good on your travel resume and can give you bragging rights.
The United States is home to several warm places to visit, and millions of people even live there. There are also some historical places on this list like the Dead Sea, which you might not realize is so hot considering it's a lake. There are also some pretty cold places to visit in North America and throughout the world. A good amount of the coldest places to visit are home to research stations performing tests in ultra cold climates. You may want to stay away from some of these places, but others (like the Icehotel) actually encourage visitors to endure the cold.
If you think where you live gets pretty hot or cold, checking out the entries on this list might make you feel better. You may be encouraged to visit or to stay away, but either way you'll know a little more about some of the warmest and coldest places in the world to visit. It might be surprising to learn that some national parks made the list, so find out what other places are noteworthy for their extreme temperatures.
20 Tirat Zvi, Israel (Warmest)
Israel is a fascinating place to visit, especially if you are religious in any way. If you choose to venture away from the highly populated and visited areas, you can go to Tirat Zvi which is located more than 700 feet below sea level. In 1942 it had a recorded temperature of 129°F, the highest ever recorded on the continent of Asia. Several hundred people make their home in Tirat Zvi which is located near the Israel/Jordan border and west of the Jordan River. Tirat Zvi is defined as a religious kibbutz which means a collective community. You can check out the date palms. You can still visit popular cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Nazareth while you are there. You can also visit the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea especially if you are fond of history. You may want to just pass through Tirat Zvi or try visiting during the cooler months of the year.
19 Cape Town, South Africa (Warmest)
Cape Town was named “the hottest city on the planet right now” in 2015. That’s when a temperature of 108°F was recorded, the hottest for the city in an entire century. This coastal destination has a famous harbor and many landmarks like Cape Point and Table Mountain. Cape Town is very multicultural, making it a great destination to experience different types of food and entertainment and meeting interesting locals. The New York Times and the British Daily Telegraph both named Cape Town as the best place in the world to visit in 2014. Even when it gets hot during the summer you can escape to the ocean and visit a popular tourist destination like Clifton Beach. Generally, Cape Town is considered to have a mild climate, you just have to avoid the hottest times of the year. Both sides of the city even have dramatically different water temperatures if you visit the beaches.
18 Bangkok, Thailand (Warmest)
Despite the high temperatures, Bangkok is still the most populated city in Thailand with over eight million residents. The average annual temperature there is 85°F which is definitely a bit on the warm side. Temperatures often reach between 95 and 100 from March to May. The humidity is the worst part, coming in at about 90%. Bangkok remains one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Travel + Leisure magazine called it the “World’s Best City”. There is plenty to see and do including visiting royal palaces and temples. Bangkok is also home to lots of restaurants and shopping opportunities and has some pretty happening nightlife. There are also lots of festivals and events including Songkran in April and Loi Krathong in November. While you can still attend Muay Thai kickboxing matches, soccer has become popular in Bangkok as well. Overall Bangkok is a great place to visit if you don’t mind the intense humidity.
17 Queensland, Australia (Warmest)
Many Americans have a positive impression of Australia, but they might not enjoy visiting Queensland during the summer. NASA satellites actually recorded a land temperature of 156.7°F back in 2003. Of course that was recorded in the badlands which have no shade and are not highly populated. While Australia has lots of beautiful scenery, the outback is a bit dangerous due to the hot weather and killer animals. Queensland is still a nice place to visit and tourism contributes heavily to the local economy, generating about $4 billion each year. The Great Barrier Reef is a place everyone should visit, and other popular destinations include the Gold Coast, the Daintree Rainforest, Fraser island, the Sunshine Coast, and more. You can visit wildlife parks and zoos. There are also plenty of restaurants and places to shop in Queensland.
16 Phoenix, Arizona (Warmest)
Phoenix is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, taking its place as the 5th most populous city at more than 1.6 million people. Also known as the Valley of the Sun, it has a host desert climate with plenty of sunshine all year long. It has the hottest average high temperatures of any major city in the U.S. during the summer. Each year Phoenix has an average of 107 days of temperatures reaching at least 100°F, and that’s considered a cool day during the summer. The all-time high recorded temperature in Phoenix is 122°F back in 1990. While Phoenix doesn’t have any beaches or theme parks, it is home to teams from all four major sports leagues and has a large amount of highly rated resorts. It’s a great place to visit during the winter months and receives plenty of leisure travelers each year, along with lots of business conferences as well.
15 Barbados (Warmest)
Barbados is a popular tourist destination for those who want to relax at the beach. It can get pretty warm, with temperatures reaching 88°F during January which is the dry season. Barbados is home to plenty of opportunities to get wet, including snorkeling, sailing, surfing, and diving. This Caribbean destination is its own country, and the majority of its visitors live in the UK, US, and Canada. Barbados is known for its beautiful and picturesque turquoise colored water. You can visit Harrison’s cave which is home to the cleanest and purest water in the world, and Flowers Forest Park and Hillaby mountain are other popular places to visit when you aren’t at the beach. There are lots of festivals in Barbados that happen throughout the year, so be sure to check for information and dates before you visit. Barbados used to be a part of the United Kingdom and the official languages are English and Bajan Creole.
14 Dead Sea (Warmest)
The Dead Sea is located at the lowest place on earth at 422 meters below sea level. You’ll definitely want to take a dip and you’ll be amazed at how buoyant the water is, meaning you’ll easily float thanks to the unique makeup of salt and minerals. Dead Sea mud baths are world famous as well. It’s a good thing there’s plenty of water in the Dead Sea because temperatures average around 100°F from June to August. You can access the Dead Sea from Israel or Jordan. If you choose to visit through Israel, you can also visit Masada and Jerusalem is not too far either. From the Jordan side you can also check out the amazing wonders of Petra. There are more luxurious resorts on the Jordanian side but many day-trippers like visiting the Israel side. You can also visit Tirat Zvi, Israel, which also made this list with a record high of 129.
13 Lake Havasu City (Warmest)
If you’re a college student who likes to party and live or go to school in Arizona, California, or Nevada, you should be no stranger to Lake Havasu City. This is one of the Southwest’s most popular spring break destinations each year. The area has been referred to as “Arizona’s playground” and has relatively mild winters that are still sunny. During July, Lake Havasu City has a high temperature of about 110°F, making it unfavorable unless you spend time on the water. There are plenty of water activities to take part in including boating and fishing, and you can even visit the London Bridge. There are also casinos in the area for those a little bit older who’ve already graduated. If you want to knock out multiple entries on this list in the same trip you can also visit Phoenix and/or Death Valley. Lake Havasu City was part of MTV’s Spring Break in 1995.
12 Manaus, Brazil (Warmest)
Brazil is a very popular place for tourism and Manaus is located near the Amazon River. The city is home to about three million people, and many more visit to check out the rainforest. There are several architectural structures to visit, as well as a very popular zoo and Meeting of Waters where the Negro River and the Solimoes flow side by side. Manaus is located just south of the Equator meaning it gets pretty warm. Temperatures are pretty steady and are usually between 80 and 90°F with a good amount of humidity. Since several wealthy European families have settled in Manaus it has become known for European culture, art, and architecture. The city is home to the pied tamarin which is one of the most endangered primates in the country. There are plenty of tour boards and the Mercado Adolpho Lisboa is a popular place to spend time.
11 Death Valley, CA (Warmest)
Death Valley officially had the world’s hottest recorded temperature in 1913 when it made the Guinness Book of World Records with a temperature of 134°F. More recently the Mojave Desert set a record for the hottest month of June with an average high of 115.5°F. You might be wondering why you would visit this extremely warm place in the desert, but it’s home to Death Valley National Park. It’s technically located in both California and Nevada although most people think of CA for having nice temperatures. Death Valley is home to the hottest, lowest, and driest national park. The park features camping and guided tours and is much more enjoyable during seasons other than summer. There are night sky viewing opportunities and plenty of wildlife and wildflowers. Death Valley used to be a popular place for mining camps and was once populated by prospectors and their burros.
10 Vostok Station, Antarctica (Coldest)
This cold destination is 3,500 meters above sea level and near the South Geomagnetic Pole. Located in Antarctica, the Vostok station is a Russian research facility. Back in 1983 it recorded the coldest air temperature in the world at -89.2°C. If you work for the Russian government or want to try an interesting vacation, you can check out of the world's largest lake, although it's buried beneath nearly four kilometers of ice. This destination is located in Princess Elizabeth Land and was founded in 1957. The research performed there includes ice core drilling. It has an ice cap climate featuring subzero temperatures all year long. At certain times of the year it can get almost 23 hours of sunshine per day, but other times it gets none at all. The average temperature is -65°C during the cold season and -42°C during the warm season. You can look for penguins but there won't be any place for you to stay.
9 Eureka, Canada (Codest)
If you're looking for one of the coldest places in the world that people still inhabit, you've found Eureka, Canada. Located on the far-northern Ellesmere Island, Eureka is a weather station that was founded in 1947. The average annual temperature comes in at -20°C and in winter it drops down to negative 40 on average. During the summer the warmest temperature ever recorded was 20.9°C which happened on 2009. As global temperatures continue to rise this place may actually be warm enough to visit in thousands of years. The area has a polar climate and has no sunlight from October to February. If you are able to travel there you might see foxes, wolves, lemmings, hares, or oxen. If you're looking for another very cold place to visit in Canada you can try Snag, Yukon which recorded a temperature of -62.7°C in 1947. While Canada is one of the colder countries it still has plenty of warm spots to enjoy.
8 Oymyakon, Russia (Coldest)
While you may or may not want to travel to Russia, there are plenty of interesting things to see. If you're looking to chill out and visit a cold destination, consider Oymyakon, located in the republic of Yakutia. This village reached a low temperature of -67.7°C in 1933. There's a plaque located in the village commemorating this achievement. If you want to visit you'll have to work for it by driving about 800 kilometers east from Yakutsk. You might want to hitch a ride from a tanker trunk that transports water to Oymyakon because theirs is all frozen. There are about 500 residents of this village and they mostly eat meat and fish since crops can't grow in the extreme cold. If you do want to drive there, you have to take what's known as the “Road of Bones” which is due to the prisoners who passed away from building it and were then buried under it.
7 Denali (Coldest)
If you want to stay within the United States but still want to travel, you can visit Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley. This mountain range is located in Alaska and is the tallest land-based mountain in the world at about 18,000 feet. It also has the highest mountain peak in North America at 20,310 feet. The native people have referred to this mountain as Denali but it was re-named to support presidential candidate William McKinley in 1896. The name was officially changed back to Denali in 2015. Many people have tried to climb to the peak, but several of them have failed. Denali is the coldest mountain on Earth and recorded a temperature of -73°C back in 1913. If you aren't up for trying to make the difficult trek up the mountain you can still enjoy the wonderful nature of Denali National Park but be sure to wear your warm clothing.
6 South Pole (Coldest)
If you are a fan of geography you might want to visit the south pole. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is located in Antarctica and recorded a remarkably cold temperature of -82.8°C in June 1982. This research station is owned by the United States and is located at the southernmost place on the planet at the South Pole. It's situated more than 9,000 feet above sea level which is why it's so cold. This station was built to study the geophysics of the polar regions in 1956. Before that there was no permanent structure located at the South Pole. It has a six month night period with temperatures dropping below -73°C with blizzards and gale-force winds. This research station seems to be more prominent than the others on this list and has been visited by the likes of Buzz Aldrin as well as Anthony Bourdain who filmed for his television series Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown there.
5 Research Stations In Greenland (Coldest)
For those who don't know much about it, Greenland has a somewhat misleading name. Some might think it has a tropical warm climate with plenty of greenery, but it's actually quite cold. If you are brave enough to travel to a remote location you could see the Klinck research station. The area recorded a temperature of -69.4°C in December of 1991. It's located about 6,000 feet above sea level. The Klinck nunatak, which is defined as the exposed and rocky element of a mountain that's not covered with snow or ice, wasn't discovered until the 1960s by the U.S. Navy. The Summit Camp or Summit Station is a research station on the Greenland Ice Sheet which has a record low of -67.2°C. There are some nice places to visit if you stay away from the coldest areas.
4 Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina (Coldest)
Unlike some places on this list, Los Glaciares National Park is a popular tourist destination. Argentina isn't always thought of as one of the coldest countries, but the glaciers here have been increasing in size over the years and draw in a lot of spectators. There is also plenty of wildlife, including condors and eagles. Argentina's largest national park was established in 1937 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The glaciers here start at less than 5,000 feet unlike glaciers in most parts of the world which don't start unless they are at least 8,000 feet above sea level. You can also visit the bordering Torres del Paine National Park located in Chile. During the winter the average temperature is 0.6°C and it warms up to 13.4°C in the summer. The park receives about 20 inches of rain a year and gets plenty of snow during the winter.
3 Icehotel, Sweden (Coldest)
This place actually caters to those who want to experience extremely cold temperatures. Located outside the city of Kiruna, Sweden, the Icehotel is rebuilt every single year from 30,000 tons of snow and ice. The average temperature is about 23°F. Opening in 1990 it became the world's first ice hotel. Chairs and beds are made of snow and ice which comes from the Torne River. Various artists create each room so no room is quite alike. There is also a bar which features glasses made of ice, as well as an ice chapel where many couples get married. There are 55 rooms and 10 restaurants located on the property. The good news is you don't have to sit on an ice toilet because there is a warm building nearby for that type of business. There are actually “warm rooms” too for guests if you prefer that type of thing. A room can cost you anywhere from less than $200 to up to about $1,000 a night.
2 Chamonix, France (Coldest)
The first ever home of the Winter Olympics was Chamonix, France back in 1924. It features snow covered mountains like Mt. Blanc. This is still a great location for those who like winter sports like snowboarding or skiing. Chamonix is actually known as a commune and is home to about 9,000 residents. It's one of the oldest ski resorts in all of France and has a humid continental climate. Summers are considered mild while winters are snowy and cold. Chamonix can make a nice romantic getaway for skiers. A cable car can take you up to Aiguille du Midi which is more than 12,000 feet above sea level. It was built in 1955 and was the highest cable car in existence. To this day, it's still the highest vertical ascent cable car you can ride. While it's unlikely that the Olympics will return, you can visit this location to see what it's all about.
1 International Falls, Minnesota (Coldest)
If you're not looking to leave the United States mainland, you can visit International Falls, Minnesota. The town has been referred to as the “Icebox of the Nation”. It commonly reaches 0°F during the winter and is home to about 6,500 people. The city is located on the Rainy River and is across the border from Ontario, Canada. If you're in the area you can travel 11 miles east to visit Voyageurs National Park. The trademark for “Icebox of the Nation” has been challenged by Fraser, Colorado. In 1986 International Falls paid Fraser the large sum of $2,000 to become official. The problem was that the Minnesota city failed to renew the trademark in 1996 and Fraser filed for it. In 2008 International Falls finally received the official slogan, and just days after they recorded a low temperature of -40°F. If you ever watched the cartoon The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, their fictional town of Frostbite Falls was based on International Falls.