Destination Watch

Highest-Rated Destinations: Grades A to B+

[Above: A Norwegian fjord; rating “A-.” Photo: Jonathan Tourtellot]

From 2004 to 2010, National Geographic expert panelists weighed environment, cultural factors, built heritage, aesthetics, tourism management, and overall trend for each destination. These grades reflect their consensus, reported on five pages:

Download a pdf of all 440 destination grades, listed by country.



No destination exceeded a National Geographic score of 90, necessary for an “A.”


Austria Wachau/Melk Abbey
Canada: B.C. Gwaii Haanas NP Reserve and Haida Heritage Site
Denmark Faroe Islands
Norway Norwegian Fjords



Portugal Azores
Canada: Newfoundland Avalon Peninsula
Canada: Ontario Rideau Canal corridor
Norway Lofoten
United Kingdom: Scotland Shetland Islands
Chile Chiloe
Japan Nikko historic areas
Belgium Historic center of Ghent
France Vézelay
United Kingdom: Scotland Isle of Skye
Canada: BC Kootenay/Yoho NPs
Australia Kangaroo Island, South Australia
New Zealand Te Wahipounamu
New Zealand South Island
New Zealand Tutukaka Coast, Northland
Austria Graz
France Aix-en-Provence
France Dijon and Bourgogne region
Germany Potsdam historic areas
Iceland as a whole
Sweden Stockholm’s Gamla Stan
United Kingdom Wales: Pembrokeshire Coast
Michigan Mackinac Island, Lake Huron
Canada: Quebec Gaspé peninsula

Recognized in 2014 by the Green Destinations group.

Note—These letter grades interpret some 80% of the numerical survey scores reported by National Geographic (weighted to favor the more recent scores). The Destination Stewardship Center has applied these grades independently, and we take sole responsibility for them. For the original numerical scores and panelist comments, consult the appropriate links to National Geographic. Please also read about methodology.


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