But punch in “What are the best holiday destinations in the world” and there are some surprising answers. Yes, there are the classic “bucket list” regulars of Machu Picchu, the Great Barrier Reef and the Taj Mahal in the carousel of 50 sights. But some ...
Oh, Google. What did we do before we had your bank of a billion websites at our fingertips? You can answer our existential questions (try “What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?”), tell us why we might soon be dying (try any ailment) and - apparently one of the top searches every month - inform us of the time.
But punch in “What are the best holiday destinations in the world” and there are some surprising answers. Yes, there are the classic “bucket list” regulars of Machu Picchu, the Great Barrier Reef and the Taj Mahal in the carousel of 50 sights. But some came as a surprise to Telegraph Travel.
Unsurprisingly, Macchu Picchu made the cut Credit: Getty
After enquiring about how this travel carousel is compiled, we were informed by a spokesperson from Google that their “best holiday destinations in the world” list is not curated by a panel of experts but rather it is a collation of dynamic results, generated automatically to reflect the most popular search topics.
The Great Pyramid did not Credit: GETTY
Which makes it all the more surprising that sights like the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, Boudhanath in Nepal and Bora Bora in the South Pacific made the cut above tourism staples like - say - the Grand Canyon, Piazza San Marco or the Pyramids of Giza.
Here we take a closer look at some of the places that feature in Google’s list of best holiday destinations in the world, as chosen by the internet. Note that, since the results are dynamic, they may have changed by the time you ask Google the question, so consider this a snapshot of what was popular on the morning of August 8, 2018.
IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai
Opened in 2016, this $1 billion indoor amusement park is set within a temperature-controlled hangar in Dubai and covers an area equivalent to 28 football fields.
Split into four themed zones - Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure and the IMG Boulevard - IMG Worlds of Adventure uses heat-mapping technology to monitor where people are congregating and, via the theme park app, directs people to rides with shorter queues. You won’t get that at Petra.
At IMG Worlds of Adventure there are 70 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs Credit: Getty
This is one of a series of new theme parks unveiled in the UAE in recent years. Just last month Warner Bros World opened on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, housing the immersive lands of Gotham City and Bedrock among other fictional settlements.
Majorelle Garden, Marrakech
The Jardin Majorelle is one of the glories of Marrakech, offering peace and quiet away from the bustle of Jemaa el-Fnaa (also in Google's top 50). The garden may be small, less than half a hectare, but its series of mini landscapes take the visitor on a sensory journey from dreamy calm to hot prickly frisson.
The Majorelle Gardens first opened to the public in 1947 Credit: Getty
The eponymous garden is the chef-d’oeuvre of Jacques Majorelle, painter, plant collector and scholarly enthusiast for the culture of Marrakech and the Sahara region, who opened the garden to the public in 1947. In 1980, it was purchased by the French couturier Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, who saved it from destruction by speculators. Today, visitors can explore the gardens for 70Dhs (around £15).
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Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu
Built in stages between the seventh and 14th centuries, Boudhanath has one of the largest stupas in the world and sits on an ancient trade route into the Kathmandu Valley. The stupa became a focal point of worship for Tibetan Buddhists in the 1950s when Chinese refugees arrived in Kathmandu. Since then, 50 gompas (Tibetan convents) have been constructed around it.
Boudhanath has one of the largest stupas in the world Credit: Getty
The April 2015 Nepal earthquake severely damaged Boudhanath Stupa, creating deep cracks in the spire. The whole structure above the dome had to be restored, a project funded entirely by private donations from Buddhist groups and volunteers. It reopened in November 2016.
Bora Bora, South Pacific
Writing about the island for Telegraph Travel, Nigel Tisdall describes Bora Bora thusly: “It is honeymoon central, with five-star resorts lining up along its eastern islets to catch the celebrated sunset views of Mount Otemanu. The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has 100 overwater bungalows and is a good choice for families. There’s not much to see on the main island, so have no guilt about settling in for some full-blown lotus eating.”
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Not everyone is so enamoured. Speaking of her honeymoon to Bora Bora in an interview with Telegraph Travel in 2010, Sharon Osbourne said: “Ozzy and I went to Bora Bora and we hated it so much we renamed it Boring, Boring. It was so dull!
“We were staying on one of those little huts that are built into the ocean with a glass bottom. It was so boring even the fish didn’t bother to swim by. There was nothing to do, everyone spoke French and the food was crap, too.”
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Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
Yes, it may actually be five-and-a-half miles long, but the Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman ranks in our list of the top 25 beaches in the Caribbean.
Located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands are home to mangrove forests, evergreen woodland and untouched beaches. Seven Mile Beach itself may not be strictly untouched - it is home to Grand Cayman’s strip of glitzy luxury resorts and hotels - but its crystal clear waters and first-rate diving schools make it a worthy inclusion on Google’s carousel.
Five-and-a-half mile beach, if we're being pedantic Credit: Getty
Churchill War Rooms, London
We were surprised to see this one rank higher than, say, the National Portrait Gallery or the Natural History Museum. But the Churchill War Rooms certainly deserve a visit. This bunker was originally built to provide shelter to the Government during the Blitz in the Second World War – and is now dedicated to the life and achievements of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.
A look inside the Churchill War Rooms in London Credit: Getty
Visitors can learn about the conflict through original photos, film footage, recordings and a computerised timeline. Essential for anyone with an even passing interest in British history. Telegraph subscribers can claim two-for-one entry on tickets to the war rooms until the end of 2018.
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