The 15 Best (And Worst) Countries For Americans To Visit

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You searched the Internet, collected brochures (many of which, unfortunately, are just collecting dust), binge watched travel shows and talked to your best friend’s cousin’s sister-in-law who is a travel agent two towns over about the best places to travel abroad. But still, you haven’t settled on a trip destination. Why? Because you’re looking not only for a destination where beauty abounds, cultural attractions are abundant, and adventure awaits, but also one where American tourists are warmly welcomed with open arms.

Truth is, you can find many destinations throughout the world where Americans are thought of as multicultural travelers from a land of liberty where fortunes are made, differences accepted, discoveries realized, and individuality embraced. There are places aplenty where American-ness is viewed as a breath of fresh air and where American tourists are figuratively — and at times literally — embraced. The following countries are among those where your traveling days as an American abroad will be well spent

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15. Belize (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: They use American dollars, speak English, and they rejected the rule of the British (used to be their overlords). It’s assumed that if you’ve chosen Belize as a travel destination you’re laid-back and ready to explore a lifestyle that’s refreshingly unpretentious and coastal cool.

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Why go? While there, you’ll be surrounded by a no-worries lifestyle that just might make you rethink the gotta-climb-the-ladder grind of America. Get in the habit of slowing down and taking a deep breath (perfect for when you dive into the Belize Barrier Reef).

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14. Japan (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: The Japanese are known for being kind and patient — and, let’s be honest, sometimes it takes patience when dealing with American tourists. The people of Japan also have gracefully adopted some features of our culture into their day-to-day living, making American visitors seem more familiar than foreign.

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Why go? Like America, Japan is a beauteous blend of old and new, modern and traditional. Whether you’re wandering among the brilliant tumult of Tokyo, the cheery cherry blossoms of Kyoto, or the magnificence of Mount Yari, Japan evokes a wonder that can erase any wistfulness for home.

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13. Australia (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: Why do Aussies love Yanks? Chalk it up to having quite a few things in common, republican sentiment among them (some Australians are waiting to be free from British rule). They also liken Americans’ passion for the NFL with their love of Aussie footie.

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Why go? The upside of going Down Under? You can spend your days doing everything from backpacking in the outback, soaking up the rays on a beach in Queensland, or enjoying fine dining in one of the many cosmopolitan cities

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12. Georgia (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: Ever since Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union in the 1990s, diplomatic relations between Georgia and the U.S. have become stronger. Both nations trade openly, and owing to the strong diplomatic ties between the two, U.S. citizens can stay in visa-free in Georgia for up to one year.

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Why go? At roughly the size of West Virginia, Georgia packs a lot of beauty into its landscape. Get your camera ready as you’ll want to capture the visually stunning vistas that include breathtaking beaches lining the Black Sea and the wildflower-swept Caucasus Mountains.

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11. Ireland (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: Ireland and America share many of the same political and social values, which allows for an easy, fun-loving rapport between the two. Add to that an independent spirit that can’t be easily squelched and you have the making of a spirited friendship.

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Why go? Don’t expect to see laughing leprechauns, woodland fairies, or gracefully arched rainbows every day — that’s the stuff of Americanized Irish lore. But do take in the beauty of the Cliffs of Moher, the Skellig Islands, Killarney National Park, and a coastline that’s astonishing in its rugged splendor.

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10. India (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: Besides the fact that Indians are known to be some of the friendliest and most welcoming people on Earth, they’re always happy to help American tourists get about, offer up travel advice, and find a good meal. And they’re naturally very curious about Westerners.

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Why go? There’s a quiet, you could even say meditative, beauty to India’s magnificent landscapes. But there’s also a wealth of exotic markets, thousands of years of culture to explore, and regal palaces that pay homage to stunning opulence.

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9. Cuba (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: A lot of congenial camaraderies exists between the U.S. and Cuba since the travel and trade ban between the two was lifted. And there’s also a mutual benefit to welcoming American tourists with open arms: Americans are known to spend liberally while traveling on vacation, and Cubans love to sell. When it comes to feeling the love, it’s reciprocal.

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Why go? How to sum up Cuba? Old-school cool. A certain vibrancy suffuses streets lined with cheerful, colorful houses. Vintage cars transport you back in time. Music and dance and zesty foods not only awaken your senses but also enliven your imagination.

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8. Canada (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: The U.S. and Canada share a border and share the love. Socially and politically, both countries share a lot in common. And the fact that Canadians are known for being super friendly adds to the welcoming vibe of this nearby neighbor.

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Why go? Take your pick: Grand and glorious national parks. Sparkling marine conservation areas. Historic sites that intrigue and invite exploration. Sophisticated cities like Montreal, where the vibe is cool but the welcome is warm.

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7. Russia (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: The U.S. and Russia have a history of tensions freezing and thawing, then freezing again. This on-off, love-hate relationship has resulted in Russia being seen as somewhat of forbidden fruit with American tourists. Americans love to rebel. Russia loves a rebel. It’s all good.

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Why go? Russian visas can be difficult to get but you’ll find traveling there is worth it. Red Square. Famous dancers at the Bolshoi. Cultural diversity. Distinctive architecture. And thousands and thousands of miles of unexplored, and unimaginably beautiful, terrain.

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6. Thailand (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: There’s a bond between America and Thailand born of their past history as war buddies: Thailand formed a partnership with the U.S. during the Vietnam War to keep communist advances in neighboring countries at bay. Those difficult days resulted in Thais getting used to Americans, and the latter has continued to visit Thailand over the years.

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Why go? The question isn’t “What’s there to do?” — it’s “What isn’t there to do?” In the east you’ll find splendid, sprawling beaches; in the west, you’ll come upon misty mountains nothing short of magical. And the food? Don’t miss out on a Pad Thai crawl.

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5. Wales (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: The English tend to sneer at Wales (eyeing it as an unfortunate industrial backyard) and condescend to Americans. The result? The Welsh side with Yanks. Underlying the relationship is this country’s appreciation for America’s under-the-radar antagonism toward the English. Let’s just say they have a history.

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Why go? When it comes to Wales, the phrase ‘good things come in small packages’ isn’t a cliché, it’s a truism. Undeniably compact, Wales offers wondrous opportunities for escaping into nature. Verdant river valleys. Mountains that rise from the landscape with a stately solitude. An extensive network of beauteous paths that seem to lead you further and further into paradise. And untamed islands scattered off the coast, some of which are major wildlife sanctuaries.

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4. Portugal (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: Tourism has been growing in the country at a steady rate for the past 8 years, and American visitors are as welcome as any. Home to the Azores, often referred to as Europe’s answer to Hawaii, Portugal can now claim that it’s among the fastest-growing vacation spots around the world.

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Why go? Start with the fact that Portugal is home to some exceptionally good wine, then add in historic cities, a rich culture, lush landscape, hundreds of new hotels, and thousands of renovated apartments for tourists. It’s a recipe for travel at its best

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3. Croatia (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Americans are die-hard fans of Game of Thrones, which used Croatia as a filming location. But there’s more to this small European nation than a stunning setting for one of the most popular television series ever, and Croatians are more than happy to welcome American tourists looking for other pleasures.

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Why go? Croatia is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a scenic Adriatic coast, and an economy that allows tourists to get a lot of bang for their buck (a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs about $30).

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2. Switzerland (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: American tourists love the fact that Switzerland has very high safety and security standards; Switzerland, in turn, appreciates that its standards are…appreciated.

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Why go? The tourism service infrastructure in Switzerland is very well developed, which allows for ease in visiting major attractions such as the Matterhorn (which just might be the most photographed mountain on the planet), the winter wonderland of the Jungfrau region, Lake Geneva, and the four-centuries old Chillion Castle.

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1. Luxembourg (Best)

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Why Americans feel the love: The people of Luxembourg welcome American tourists because they believe Americans understand — and can relate to — their commitment to high living standards. Luxembourg also boasts one of the best business environments in the world, so it’s not surprising that it attracts scores of business people as well.

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Why go? Luxembourg is small but it offers tourist attractions on a grand scale. Picturesque villages suggest fairy-tale renderings. Ancient fortifications speak to awesome historical achievements. Incomparable cliffs and mesmerizing museums excite and inspire. In Luxembourg, there is no time to be bored.

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American tourists should seriously consider avoiding these 15 popular destinations.

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If you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you might want to think twice about heading to these destinations.

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In some places, they’re easy to spot: the Ugly Americans. It’s really not about appearance or clothing or unrecognizable accents. It’s more about an attitude that comes across as ethnocentric, superior, and just plain ungracious.

Some destinations around the world have earned a reputation as not being particularly conciliatory to American tourists (we’ve left several countries off the list because of obvious safety concerns, travel warnings, government restrictions, and the like). They’re not in any rush to welcome Americans who criticize strange customs, make no effort to communicate with the “natives,” show no desire to experience the true culture of a place, and ask condescending questions like “How much is that in real money?”

But if Americans set aside their imperialistic attitude and respectfully turn their attention to the amazing attributes of the following countries, they could find themselves being welcomed with open arms. And that leaves the door open for any number of wonderful travel possibilities.

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15. Germany (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Perhaps it’s the prevalence of the American flag plastered on sweatshirts, jackets, sneakers, pant legs. Or the fact that American tourists have a habit of shunning native foods while on the hunt for American fast food. Or that Americans are perceived as, well, somewhat sloppy. Some Germans seem to feel that American tourists just don’t measure up to the country’s rigorous standards.

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Why go? Take your pick: A landscape sculpted out of dune-fringed coasts, roaming river valleys, and vibrant vineyards. The astounding Alps, ruggedly beautiful while at the same time mystical. Charming half-timbered villages. And let’s not forget great cities like Munich and Hamburg and Berlin, where culture collides with history in everything from tony museums to naughty cabarets.

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14. France (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Americans might be hard-pressed to miss the lip-pursing, shoulder shrugs, and overall disdain of Parisians who can perceive American tourists as lacking grace. Blame it on the prevalence of sloppy outfits (Yoga pants? Not on the streets of the fashion capital of the world). Dawdling gawkers that clog city walkways. Loud talking that’s simply jarring in intimate cafés. And an insistence on ignoring the slow, leisurely, and gourmet food culture of France.

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Why go? The Eiffel Tower. Arc de Triomphe. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Notre Dame cathedral. Versailles. The Louvre. Self-explanatory, n’est ce pas?

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13. Indonesia (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: It’s not a proud moment for American tourists that they are among the many visitors to Indonesia who take part in the trend of ‘beg-packing’: setting up on street corners and begging for money to get to their next island destination in this land of over 17,000 islands. It’s bad form indeed, considering that more than 31 million people live in poverty in Indonesia.

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Why go? In the world’s fourth most populous country, white-sand beaches beckon, nearly 100 volcanoes extend toward the heavens, and diving sites bedazzle with brilliant beauty. And then there’s Bali, Jakarta, Java, Sumatra…the list goes on.

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12. Greece (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: When American tourists visit Greece, it’s fair to say there’s a lot to drink in — literally. Some U.S. tourists see nothing wrong with excessive public drinking in a foreign country. One Greek said, “Americans go and get college-girl drunk — it’s a big cultural difference. There was never a drinking age here [until recently when they made it 18], so as teenagers, we never felt the need to get wasted because we easily could if we’d really wanted to.”

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Why go? Sun-bleached ruins rising ever-so-effortlessly toward blue skies, wonderful cuisine, passionate music and dance, and the seemingly boundless Aegean lapping at a limitless coastline. And for foodies, traveling here is a culinary adventure that goes far beyond feta and olive oil.

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11. Argentina (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: How Americans present themselves in a foreign country can make all the difference in how they’re welcomed. American tourists in Argentina are sometimes perceived as arrogant, owing to the fact that they call themselves “Americans.” The folks in Argentina are Americans as well — South Americans. Just sayin’.

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Why go? Wanderlust runs freely here. Take it all in; the streetside tango, gaucho culture, fútbol (soccer), a landscape that lures you in with the awesome Andes, and more. Whether you’re popping into the pulsating scene of Buenos Aires or becoming infatuated with the mighty Iguazú Falls, Argentina is a cocktail of cool sites and cultural happenings.

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10. Denmark (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: It seems that Americans’ tendency to flaunt a “we’re number one” braggadocio isn’t so popular among the Danes. As one computer technology student in Denmark explained, “[Americans] feel better than the rest of the world, but in reality, we are as good as they are. They simply don’t see us as their equal…but we are.” So feel free to take a carefree cruise through Copenhagen but make sure to tone down the aggressive American attitude.

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Why go? Boasting nearly unbeatable contentment and quality of life, Denmark is the stuff of fairy tales with picture-perfect castles providing a wondrous backdrop. An ethereal Nordic light suffuses long sandy beaches, glittering lakes, and Renaissance castles that rise from the landscape with a mythical majesty.

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9. Czech Republic (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Perhaps it’s a commentary on the American education system: Why do American tourists seem to have limited geographical knowledge? According to one Czech Republic native, people here are tired of the question “Are Czechs the same as Russians?”

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Why go? Considered one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, the Czech Republic is home to gorgeous Gothic architecture that can transport you back 500 years, castles that capture the essence of majesty, cathedrals that inspire awe, and vital urban centers and cultural offerings that make you ask: “Why haven’t I thought of coming here sooner?”

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8. Austria (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Americans like their McDonalds, even to the point where they’ll eschew a local coffee shop, restaurant, or bakery that’s renowned for its delectable edibles (no super sizing, please). Some Austrians see this as an indicator of Americans’ inability to explore and experience cultures other than their own.

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Why go? The landscape alone is enough to take awe to new heights. Railways traverse the Alps. Sheer mountain flanks elicit gasps while deeply carved valleys appear eerily sculpted. Flower-freckled meadows dance in the wind. And glaciers glow with a precise, pristine beauty. And don’t forget the fine arts, music, and cultural attractions as well.

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7. Norway (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Americans are known for craving entertainment and gratification but sometimes American tourists can go too far. Swedish financier Mats Andersson says, “[Americans] imagine that everywhere they go is a theme park, put on especially for them to amuse themselves. In Svalbard, they have even been known to just wander into private homes, and get very upset when they are shown the door.”

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Why go? Simple: Norway is one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

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6. Scotland (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Chalk it up to the annoying American accent: American tourists might be known the world over for being loud but in Scotland, they’re seen as boasting an accent that is just, well, grating. And the incessant Braveheart impersonations don’t help, either.

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Why go? Scotland is a compact territory but it’ offerings are unbelievably expansive: This is a land of ancient architecture, spectacular wildlife, superb seafood, billowing tundra, big skies, and hospitable, down-to-earth people, who show their welcoming nature in a multitude of small ways.

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5. Italy (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Unfortunately, Americans tend to equate the Italian caricatures that they’ve seen in movies with Italy’s charismatic people. When visiting this culturally rich country, they think they understand the people and the culture because they’ve seen The Godfather trilogy. As one Italian tells it, one of the most annoying American traits is when tourists make “the hand gesture” (the thumb-to-forefinger motion) seen in every American movie about Italians; it actually means “What do you want?”

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Why go? Italy is home to some of the world’s greatest works of art and architecture, gastronomic feasts, spectacular landscapes that include the icy Alps and turquoise grottoes, and more Unesco World Heritage cultural sites than any other country on the planet.

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4. Cambodia (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: In a land of highly-regarded cultural norms and societal expectations, American tourists can sometimes come across as insensitive and disrespectful. An author on Odyssey wrote that American tourists visiting the sacred Angkor Wat temples ignored the explicit expectations regarding proper dress. Would Americans like it if the shoe were on the other foot?

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Why go? Chaotic yet charismatic Phnom Penh. The grandeur of fabled temples in Angkor. The cosmopolitan cafes and sparkling nightlife of Siem Reap. And last but not least, a landscape where ancient and modern worlds collide in a panoply of pleasures.

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3. Brazil (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Americans head to Brazil to experience the gorgeous beaches, the tantalizing nightlife, the pulsating perfection of its cities. But it’s generally frowned upon that some of these same Americans seek out a highly popular attraction in Rio de Janeiro: taking a ride in painted Jeeps that bring tourists to the world-famous favelas where they can see life in the slums firsthand. Says one Brazilian, “Poverty and inequality shouldn’t be tourist attractions.”

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Why go? In addition to sumptuous food, Brazil is a feast for the eyes: glistening white-sand beaches, brilliant metropolises, verdant rainforests, red-rock canyons, and thundering waterfalls are but a few of the attractions that heighten its allure.

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2. Belgium (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Sometimes the little things add up to big irritants. According to one Belgian, American tourists have the annoying habit of thinking that Belgium is a city in Germany — no, you’re thinking of Berlin. About the only thing the two have in common is that they both begin with the letter ‘B’.

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Why go? Belgium is many things — boring isn’t one of them. Check out the Bruges canals; savor the mussels, chips, and decadent chocolate; and sip back and relax with Tintin and Trappist beers. You’ll also want to explore stalactite-filled caves, forest-framed rivers, museums, and castles and carnivals galore

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1. England (Worst)

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Why Americans aren’t the most-liked: Call it a lack of respect for some of the traditions of this very traditional country. A recent study found that the most popular emoji in the U.K. is the laughing-crying emoji, which might be used to signify a reaction to some of the questionable things tourists do. For example: American tourists can’t seem to leave the composed soldiers of the Queen’s Guard alone — not a smart move considering they’re carrying bayonets

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Why go? There is something endlessly intriguing about all things regal in England: Is it the unfamiliar formality, the unparalleled history, or both? While pondering this, be sure to visit London, the White Cliffs of Dover, South Downs, Newcastle, York, and the many other main attractions that make England brilliant (which, when used by the British, means “wonderful”).

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