Throughout the world, some countries have become immortalized as playgrounds for the rich and famous. Others have bolstered their image by serving as important centers of world commerce. Regardless, five nations around the world stand out from the rest because they not only have the highest GDP per capita, but also because they possess a great wealth of attractions to tickle any tourist’s fancy.
The Middle East has become a hotbed of wealth in recent years, and the Persian Gulf state of Qatar is no exception. In the Qatari capital of Doha, the Venetian-themed Villagio Mall boasts a diverse array of designer shops and restaurants, as does The Pearl Qatar, a shopping and dining complex built on a manmade island in Doha harbor. Katara Cultural Center not only hosts a variety of vibrant cultural events year-round, but also offers white-sand beaches and restaurants serving a plethora of cuisines. Losail International Circuit hosts the opening round of the MotoGP motorcycle racing championship each year. Furthermore, Qatar will host the prestigious FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in 2022.
© Francisco Anzola
Europe’s wealthiest country, Luxembourg offers a great wealth of sights not to be missed. Although it is for the most part a modern metropolis, Luxembourg City is also home to “Old Town”, a medieval village overlooking the Alzette and Petrusse rivers. Other historic sites in Luxembourg City include the 17th-century Notre Dame Cathedral and the Grand Ducal Palace, home to the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and his family. Beyond the capital are the region of Mullerthal, a rugged, mountainous paradise for outdoorsy types, and Moselle, famed for its wineries, which produce varietals such as Riesling and Pinot Gris.
© Flavio Ensiki
In Singapore, an Asian city-state long regarded as a bastion of wealth, opulence abounds. Nowhere is this truer than at the Marina Bay Sands Resort, which includes a luxury hotel, high-end shopping mall, and an observation deck with spectacular views. Riders on the Singapore Flyer observation wheel can indulge in afternoon tea or evening dinner and cocktails while taking in panoramic vistas of Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Visitors to Sentosa Island can swim with dolphins at the Underwater World aquarium, explore the country’s only preserved fortress at Fort Siloso, or simply enjoy some fun in the sun. Orchard Road’s 22 malls and six department stores are a favorite with shopaholics.
Often overlooked by tourists worldwide, the tiny kingdom of Brunei is home to a wide variety of hidden gems. In the capital city of Bandar, visitors can marvel at the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei, along with the opulent treasures displayed at the Royal Regalia Museum. Nature lovers will enjoy visiting Brunei to explore the lush rainforests and coral reefs untouched by civilization. Moreover, rafting on the Temburong River is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A crown jewel in the Arabian Gulf region, Kuwait may be small in size but is home to a great wealth of tourist attractions. Tourists can dine hundreds of feet above Kuwait City at the Kuwait Towers restaurant before shopping at the 360 Mall, home to such iconic retailers as Gucci, Prada, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Art and culture lovers will enjoy visiting the two Tareq Rajab museums, one dedicated to fine arts and the other to traditional Islamic calligraphy. Not to be overlooked, the Great Mosque of Kuwait City is an architectural masterpiece.
— — —
Cover photo © Kai Lehmann