50 Places Around the World You Need to See Before You Die

So-called ‘drip pricing’ can make it difficult to determine the total cost of airline tickets and vacation rentals.
The deepest lake in the U.S. with a measured depth of 1,949 feet is one of the most spectacular in the world. The water is so blue because there is hardly anything else in it - just water, according to the NPS. Explore old-growth forests or wildflower meadows, and climb mountains for great views of the lake.
Slide 1 of 51: If world travel speaks to your soul, then you already know how life-changing it can be to journey to distant lands in search of something new. We've gathered a list of some of the most interesting destinations around the world, including historical hot spots, cultural melting pots and beautiful lots all waiting to be explored. Grab your passports and take a look at our picks for the 50 places in the world everyone should see before they shuffle off this mortal coil.
Slide 2 of 51: As the largest tropical rainforest on Earth, the Amazon rainforest, which is primarily located in northwestern Brazil but extends through eight additional countries, is home to the most diverse array of flora and fauna in the world. Tours through the Amazon include jungle treks, river cruises, bird watching and even swimming with pink dolphins, making this unique biodome one of the most amazing places to visit in your lifetime.
Slide 3 of 51: Holland's capital is famous for being pot-friendly, but this famous 17th century city is so much more than a smoker's paradise. Built alongside canals, visitors can tour historic Amsterdam by boat, or visit the many landmarks and museums that explore the city's fascinating past. Along with incredible shopping and dining options, Amsterdam is also only 25 miles from Keukenhof Botanical Gardens, where visitors can witness the world-famous tulip blooms each spring.
Slide 4 of 51: In the city of Siem Reap is the entrance to the temple complex of Angkor Wat, known as the largest religious monument in the world. The UNESCO World Heritage site, active archaeological hot spot and famous filming location welcomes upwards of 1 million visitors, making it one of the most popular destinations in Cambodia. Travelers can explore the sacred temples by obtaining a pass and observing the rules, including not touching the temples or being disrespectful.
Slide 5 of 51: Greek's capital city of Athens has long held an important place in history and world travel. As the site where ancient Athenians developed the world's first democracy, in the fifth century B.C., the city is still laden with awe-inspiring ruins, like the famed Parthenon that sits in the Acropolis of Athens, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with offering visitors a chance to connect with history, Athens today is also famous for its wineries, regional cuisine and leisure.
Slide 6 of 51: During World War II, Auschwitz was a place where Nazi terror reigned, allowing them to imprison and execute an estimated 1.1 million Jewish, Polish and Romani citizens. Today, the grounds are a UNESCO World Heritage site and memorial allowing people to learn about the horrors of the past and honor the courage of those who survived some of the worst conditions imaginable.
Slide 7 of 51: The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is a city that stimulates all the senses and satisfies every hunger. Famous for their nightlife, vast array of popular street foods, markets, temples, landmarks and shopping, Bangkok is a city that never sleeps and welcomes visitors from around the world. Some can't-miss sites in Bangkok include the Grand Palace, the Damnoen Saduak floating market and the giant golden Buddha of Wat Pho.
Slide 8 of 51: Located in northern Portugal, Braga is one of the country's oldest cities and remains a veritable wonderland of historical sites, religious festivals and monuments that includes the Bom Jesus Sanctuary and the Monastery of Sao Salvador. Plus, just 35 miles northwest, visitors can hit the beach in Viana de Castelo, where azure blue water glistens against the backdrop of a 19th century palace.
Slide 9 of 51: Located in Romania's famed Transylvania region and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains is the medieval town of Brașov. Home to the 14th century Bran Castle, Brașov is a romantic escape, where cobblestone streets lead to places like Piata Sfatului (also known as Council Square), where the old City Hall, a 13th century clock tower and numerous fairy tale-like buildings give visitors a spectacular view while they shop, dine and explore the city.
Slide 10 of 51: Hungary's capital, Budapest is a historic city built along the Danube river that boasts some of the most beautiful architecture in the country. From the exquisite Hungarian Parliament Building to the 13th century Buda Castle, which features an incredibly cool underground labyrinth and year-round museum, the structural beauty of the city is hard to compare. Plus, tired travelers can unwind after exploring the city in geothermal pools at the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath.
Slide 11 of 51: Cape Town, with its sweeping mountain ranges, gardens and vibrant beaches, rivals some of the most popular getaways in the world. Located on the southwestern tip of South Africa, this port city was once the place revolutionary Nelson Mandela was imprisoned before becoming president. Today visitors can ride cable cars to the top of Table Mountain, visit a beach full of penguins, or simply relax and enjoy fun shopping and dining at Greenmarket Square.
Slide 12 of 51: Located in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is a Mayan temple complex featuring famous ruins like El Castillo (seen here). Declared a World Heritage location, these dazzling monuments are also centrally located 30 minutes from popular swimming holes like Cenote Dzitnup, where visitors can float in majestic underground pools. Even better, just a little over two hours east, visitors can hit famous Mexican resort towns like Playa del Carmen and Cancún.
Slide 13 of 51: Not only is Dingle Peninsula an amazing place to find nearly 360 degrees of picturesque beaches, this popular Ireland getaway is also home to some of the most verdant grasslands in the country, proving its nickname, The Emerald Isle, is well-deserved. Travel along Slea Head Loop to see the stunning countryside and beaches, then stop and have a bite at places like The Chart House or popular Doyle's Seafood Restaurant.
Slide 14 of 51: Also known as Rapa Nui, Easter Island is located more than 2,200 miles from the coast of Chile. Famous for its nearly 1,000 moai statues (seen here), these monolithic bodies dot the landscape and beckon visitors from around the world. Aside from the island's rich heritage and history, it's also an exciting vacation destination, offering romantic, secluded beaches, treks up to the Poike volcano and fine dining and drinks at their locally owned restaurants and bars.
Slide 15 of 51: Famous for being the place Charles Darwin formed his theories of evolution, the Galapagos Islands remain a spectacular getaway destination for travelers looking to connect with nature in all its glory. Located approximately 600 miles from Ecuador's coast, the islands offer travelers the chance get up close and personal with some of the rarest creatures on the planet, including the land and marine iguanas. giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies.
Slide 16 of 51: Off the coast of Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef, 1,429 miles of a living coral reef system that is home to a vibrant array of aquatic species. Known as the largest living thing on the planet, the famed reef sees upwards of 2 million visitors annually and is so big, it can actually be seen from outer space. Between June and October, the water is at its clearest, giving eager divers, snorkelers and swimmers a chance to witness this living miracle up close.
Slide 17 of 51: Stretching over 5,500 miles, the Great Wall of China is a legendary structure with an even more complicated history, stretching back to 226 B.C. While there are many stops in China to see this UNESCO World Heritage site, some of the most popular places include child-friendly Mutianyu (about 44 miles from Beijing), the hiker's favorite section in Jinshanling and the daring (and dangerous) expanse of wall in Jiankou.
Slide 18 of 51: U.S. citizens are still banned from traveling to Cuba for tourism, but there are 12 categories of travel, including: "support for the Cuban people, humanitarian projects, educational activities and religious activities," which do allow Americans to visit this long-forbidden country. If travelers qualify, a stop in Havana, Cuba's capital city, is a must. Built along the Atlantic coast, Havana is filled with old world charm (like Morro Castle) but also has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene tourists will love.
Slide 19 of 51: More than 2,000 miles from the coast of California, in the warm waters of the central Pacific Ocean are the Hawaiian Islands, a volcanic archipelago known throughout the world for its immense beauty and aloha spirit. With six main islands: the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai, visitors have endless opportunities for exploration, enjoying the waves and warm sunshine, shopping, dining and learning about Polynesian culture.
Slide 20 of 51: In central Mozambique is Inhambane Province, also known as Terra de Boa Gente ("land of good people"). Built on the Bay of Inhambane, this southeastern African vacation destination features more than 400 miles of shoreline and a vibrant community known worldwide for their welcoming nature. Visitors can explore the beaches, go on snorkeling or wildlife tours or visit their markets and historical landmarks, including the Manyikeni and Chibueni archaeological sites.
Slide 21 of 51: Centered between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz is the idyllic town of Interlaken, a popular vacation destination in Switzerland's Bernese Oberland region. Set against the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau Mountains, Interlaken offers visitors some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the country, along with the opportunity to indulge in outdoor sports like skiing in the winter and white-water rafting in the summer.
Slide 22 of 51: Although the U.S. State Department currently lists Turkey as a category 3 travel advisory (meaning "reconsider travel"), American citizens are allowed to visit. Thankfully, the wonderful city of Istanbul is safe for travelers and a great place to experience the magic of Turkey. Built on the Sea of Marmara, Istanbul is the country's culture capital and is a popular place to explore ancient ruins, learn about Turkish customs and experience their unsurpassed nightlife and cuisine.
Slide 23 of 51: First built in 50 A.D., London is both the capital of England and one of the most popular cities in all of Europe. Known today for its iconic landmarks like Big Ben (seen here), the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, this historic city is a welcoming place for travelers to explore British culture. Modern offerings include shows on the famed West End, shopping in Notting Hill, enjoying a pint at a local pub or dining on fish and chips at restaurants like Kerbisher & Malt.
Slide 24 of 51: Seeing the bright lights of Hollywood is just one great reason for travelers to add Los Angeles to their bucket list. With an incredible array of diverse communities (like Little Ethiopia, Little Tokyo, Thai Town and Koreatown), scenic beaches, artistic enclaves, historic landmarks, world-class museums (our favorite is the Museum of Contemporary Art ) and many of the hottest restaurants in the country, Los Angeles is a hot spot for creativity, exploration and most important: fun.
Slide 25 of 51: This 15th century Incan citadel draws almost 1 million visitors each year, for good reason. Overlooking the Urambamba River Valley, Machu Picchu sits high in the Andes Mountains, representing what is believed to be a royal retreat used before the fall of the Incan empire. Today this UNESCO World Heritage site is rumored to have spiritual and healing powers and is still unveiling secrets of its legendary past to the historians and archaeologists who study it.
Slide 26 of 51: In the Canadian province of Manitoba, a magic display of lights awaits travelers in the northwestern city of Churchill. Known as the aurora borealis, these northern lights are in full focus each winter, particularly from January through March. Along with seeing the dazzling light show, visitors can also witness the beauty of the tundra, where polar bears and beluga whales are found in abundance.
Slide 27 of 51: Alaska's 12-mile long Mendenhall Glacier Caves aren't just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, they're also disappearing. These frozen aquamarine caves, carved from rushing water, are otherworldly in their beauty and complexity. However, due to global warming, they're also melting at a rapid pace, meaning this incredible destination, found just minutes from the popular city of Juneau, won't be around forever.
Slide 28 of 51: Divided by the turquoise waters of the Neretva River, Mostar is famous in Bosnia and Herzegovina for its Stari Most (old bridge) which connects the two halves of the city. The original bridge, built in the mid-16th century, was destroyed during the war in 1993, but in 2004, an identical bridge was rebuilt, giving the city back its heart. Today Mostar is a welcoming vacation destination, rich with history and old world beauty that's hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Slide 29 of 51: The Bahamas are known for their beauty, but the capital of this coral-island archipelago, Nassau, takes looking good one step further. Located on New Providence Island, Nassau is a popular tourist destination throughout most of the year thanks to its proximity to Paradise Island and Blue Lagoon Island, as well as its picturesque white sand beaches, jewel-like warm waters, historical landmarks, tropical cuisine and spectacular markets (like their popular Nassau Straw Market).
Slide 30 of 51: No bucket list is complete without a stop in New York. Known for being the fashion, business, food and cultural hub of the U.S., NYC is also a wonderful place to visit. Whether travelers enjoy the bright lights of Times Square, see historic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, catch a Broadway show, pay tribute at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, stroll through Central Park or visit one of the city's five main boroughs, they'll never feel bored in the Big Apple.
Slide 31 of 51: Known as the Province of Palawan, this mesmerizing island getaway is part of an archipelago in the Philippines. Featuring unmatched vistas, Palawan has routinely been called the most beautiful island in the world, a title island dwellers showcase proudly. Whether visitors head to the impossibly clear turquoise waters of Kayangan Lake (seen here) or hit the sandy beaches of El Nido, Palawan will make anyone feel as if they've been transported to a tropical paradise.
Slide 32 of 51: It's impossible to be a world traveler without setting foot in France's capital city of Paris. Known for its world-famous cuisine, landmarks, art, fashion and history, Paris is one of the most important cities in the western world. Along with seeing sites like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral, travelers should make time to enjoy Paris' renowned pastries, then head to the Louvre—the largest art museum in the world housing priceless masterpieces.
Slide 33 of 51: Although tourists are required to pay between $240 to $290 per per person, per night by rule of the Royal Government of Bhutan, the cost is worth it. The fee includes all lodging, ground transportation, meals and even a licensed tour guide. Meant to limit the impact of tourism, this set price allows visitors to have unencumbered access to this beautiful Buddhist kingdom while seeing places like the mystical Paro Taktsang Temple, built into the cliff overlooking the valley.
Slide 34 of 51: Nicknamed the "Red Rose City," Petra is an archaeological site dating back to 300 B.C. Located in southwestern Jordan, Petra is known for its buildings and temples, carved directly into sandstone cliffs. Popular locations include Al-Khazneh (seen here), which is considered one of the most complex structures in Petra. This former "lost city" and UNESCO World Heritage site is so famous, it was even featured in scenes from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
Slide 35 of 51: Known as the City of Brotherly Love, it's also one of the greatest places to pay homage to U.S. history. As the home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed), incredible museums (like the bizarrely wonderful Mütter Museum) and even Eastern State Pen. (the oldest penitentiary in the country), Philadelphia is more than just delicious cheese steaks and "Rocky" film scenes.
Slide 36 of 51: Located on Italy's Amalfi Coast, Positano is a popular vacation destination known for its beautiful cliffside dwellings and incredible coastal views. Whether travelers want to lie low on the beach, soaking up the warm sun, hike the famed Path of the Gods, spend time shopping in boutiques or dining on some of the best seafood in Italy, they won't be bored in Positano.
Slide 37 of 51: As the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest of three pyramids located in Egypt. Located just minutes from the bustling city of Cairo, the three pyramids draw between 9 million and 14 million tourists each year. Although their age is debated, the pyramids, which are named Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura, are believed to have been constructed as early as 3200 B.C and completed by 2500 B.C., making them between 4,500 and 5,200 years old.
Slide 38 of 51: Italy's capital city is also one no serious traveler should miss. Loaded with historic relics like the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, Rome is also home to Vatican City, which lies in the heart of the city and draws more than 5 million people each year. Along with a rich history, Rome is also Italy's fashion and food nexus, with designer boutiques and world-class restaurants offering some of the most incredible cuisine in the country.
Slide 39 of 51: Stretching over 3.6 million square miles throughout 11 countries in northern Africa, the Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world and is so big, the entire U.S. could fit inside of it. Both lethal and lovely, the immense desert isn't a place for inexperienced trekkers to explore solo, but with knowledgeable guides, visitors can have an incredible tour (often on camels) of this vast, serene and hypnotizing desert.
Slide 40 of 51: Known for the Golden Gate Bridge, sourdough bread, famed Fisherman's Wharf, cable cars and historic Alcatraz prison, San Francisco is a peninsula city with a lot more to offer visitors than what's on their travel brochures. Hidden gems in this northern California city include Chinatown (one of the largest in the country), the famous colorful Victorian houses known as the Painted Ladies and the country's best restaurants, including Nob Hill's Swan Oyster Depot.
Slide 41 of 51: Found in Germany's Bavarian province is the village of Schwangau, located along the famed Romantic Road, which stretches from the Alps to the Main River. Known for being home to the magnificent 19th century castles Neuschwanstein (seen here) and Hohenschwangau, the sleepy royal village is also perfectly situated near Füssen, a larger village known for the High Castle of Füssen.
Slide 42 of 51: An adventure of a lifetime has to include an African safari, and none compare to those in Serengeti National Park. Famous for its annual great migration, where massive herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebras and more can be seen crossing the crocodile-infested Mara and Grumeti Rivers in search of new pastures. Although travelers can often see the magnificent wild animals all year long, the best months to book a safari are from June to October.
Slide 43 of 51: The island nation of Singapore, which is both a country and a city, is one of the most alluring destinations in Asia. Known throughout the world for its impeccable standards of cleanliness and incredibly low crime rate, this diverse country is also a melting pot of Asian cultures, including Chinese, Malay, Indian and more. Some of the highlights of Singapore include viewing its unreal architecture (like Supertree Grove, seen here) or enjoying its world-famous street food.
Slide 44 of 51: For travelers who love history, sleepy beaches with emerald waters and learning about Scottish culture, then Stonehaven is the place to go. Known for being home to Dunnottar Castle, a medieval fortress built atop a sheer cliff, the fishing town is also where the festive Hogmanay Fireball Ceremony takes place each year on New Year's Eve, featuring more than 45 fireball spinners amid thousands of eager onlookers.
Slide 45 of 51: The meaning of the prehistoric, 30 foot high circular formation of Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, England, remains one of the greatest mysteries in the world. Believed to be a religious monument, or perhaps even an ancient burial ground, Stonehenge draws upwards of 800,000 curious visitors from around the world each year, eager to explore the unusual, 5,000-year-old structure.
Slide 46 of 51: Occupying an archipelago near the North Pole, Svalbard is one of the northernmost inhabited lands on Earth, making it a cool (literally) place for travelers to visit. Part of Norway, Svalbard offers visitors the chance to explore the rugged, frozen tundra of life near the Arctic, partaking in glacier and kayaking tours, where polar bears, reindeer and foxes are common sights, and even watching the breathtaking Northern Lights display.
Slide 47 of 51: Built along the banks of the River Yamuna in the city of Agra is the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and mausoleum in northern India. Opened in 1648, the white marble structure is the burial site of Emperor Shah Jahan's most beloved bride, Mumtaz Mahal. Today, nearly 4 million people make the journey to this historic landmark, making it one of the most popular and iconic destinations in all of India, along with the nearby Agra Fort and Akbar's Tomb.
Slide 48 of 51: Tokyo is where technology, culture and cuisine collide. Known for innovation, Tokyo is also bustling with beautiful parks, edgy districts and world-class restaurants selling delicious meals like hand-crafted ramen, blissfully tender sushi and sashimi, crispy tempura, mouthwatering yakitori and more. Even better, Tokyo's managed to preserve its cultural history, allowing travelers to truly witness the beauty and ingenuity of Japan.
Slide 49 of 51: Also known as Salar de Uyuni, the mesmerizing salt flats of Bolivia are located in the southwestern region of the country, near the piercing Andes mountain range. It is the largest salt flat in the world, encompassing an incredible 4,086 square miles. What's so appealing about this former prehistoric lake is how it transforms during the rainy season in March and April. The dry, cracked landscape turns into a breathtaking mirror, reflecting the sky so vividly, it's almost hard to tell the difference.
Slide 50 of 51: Austria's capital city is known for being the home of musical greats like Beethoven and Mozart, and the one-time residence of famed psychologist Sigmund Freud. Studded with cafes, art museums and imperial palaces, like Schönbrunn, Hofburg and Belvedere, Vienna is also an historical epicenter and holiday haven, featuring famed Christmas markets that date back to the 17th century. Often voted the world's best city to live in, Vienna offers travelers a chance to experience the best of Austria.
Slide 51 of 51: A gorilla-trekking tour in Uganda's Bwindi Forest National Park is considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Although a considerably expensive permit ($600 per person) is required to join these incredible tours, the chance to see gorillas in the wild, as well as rare birds and jungle cats up close and personal is unlike anything most travelers will ever experience. Plus, Bwindi even has a variety of on-site lodging accommodations, allowing visitors an immersive vacation.

A World Filled With Wonders

If world travel speaks to your soul, then you already know how life-changing it can be to journey to distant lands in search of something new. We’ve gathered a list of some of the most interesting destinations around the world, including historical hot spots, cultural melting pots and beautiful lots all waiting to be explored. Grab your passports and take a look at our picks for the 50 places in the world everyone should see before they shuffle off this mortal coil.

Amazon Rainforest

As the largest tropical rainforest on Earth, the Amazon rainforest, which is primarily located in northwestern Brazil but extends through eight additional countries, is home to the most diverse array of flora and fauna in the world. Tours through the Amazon include jungle treks, river cruises, bird watching and even swimming with pink dolphins, making this unique biodome one of the most amazing places to visit in your lifetime.

Amsterdam, Holland

Holland’s capital is famous for being pot-friendly, but this famous 17th century city is so much more than a smoker’s paradise. Built alongside canals, visitors can tour historic Amsterdam by boat, or visit the many landmarks and museums that explore the city’s fascinating past. Along with incredible shopping and dining options, Amsterdam is also only 25 miles from Keukenhof Botanical Gardens, where visitors can witness the world-famous tulip blooms each spring.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

In the city of Siem Reap is the entrance to the temple complex of Angkor Wat, known as the largest religious monument in the world. The UNESCO World Heritage site, active archaeological hot spot and famous filming location welcomes upwards of 1 million visitors, making it one of the most popular destinations in Cambodia. Travelers can explore the sacred temples by obtaining a pass and observing the rules, including not touching the temples or being disrespectful.

Athens, Greece

Greek’s capital city of Athens has long held an important place in history and world travel. As the site where ancient Athenians developed the world’s first democracy, in the fifth century B.C., the city is still laden with awe-inspiring ruins, like the famed Parthenon that sits in the Acropolis of Athens, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with offering visitors a chance to connect with history, Athens today is also famous for its wineries, regional cuisine and leisure.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland

During World War II, Auschwitz was a place where Nazi terror reigned, allowing them to imprison and execute an estimated 1.1 million Jewish, Polish and Romani citizens. Today, the grounds are a UNESCO World Heritage site and memorial allowing people to learn about the horrors of the past and honor the courage of those who survived some of the worst conditions imaginable.

Bangkok, Thailand

The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is a city that stimulates all the senses and satisfies every hunger. Famous for their nightlife, vast array of popular street foods, markets, temples, landmarks and shopping, Bangkok is a city that never sleeps and welcomes visitors from around the world. Some can’t-miss sites in Bangkok include the Grand Palace, the Damnoen Saduak floating market and the giant golden Buddha of Wat Pho.

Braga, Portugal

Located in northern Portugal, Braga is one of the country’s oldest cities and remains a veritable wonderland of historical sites, religious festivals and monuments that includes the Bom Jesus Sanctuary and the Monastery of Sao Salvador. Plus, just 35 miles northwest, visitors can hit the beach in Viana de Castelo, where azure blue water glistens against the backdrop of a 19th century palace.

Brașov, Romania

Located in Romania’s famed Transylvania region and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains is the medieval town of Brașov. Home to the 14th century Bran Castle, Brașov is a romantic escape, where cobblestone streets lead to places like Piata Sfatului (also known as Council Square), where the old City Hall, a 13th century clock tower and numerous fairy tale-like buildings give visitors a spectacular view while they shop, dine and explore the city.

Budapest, Hungary

Hungary’s capital, Budapest is a historic city built along the Danube river that boasts some of the most beautiful architecture in the country. From the exquisite Hungarian Parliament Building to the 13th century Buda Castle, which features an incredibly cool underground labyrinth and year-round museum, the structural beauty of the city is hard to compare. Plus, tired travelers can unwind after exploring the city in geothermal pools at the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, with its sweeping mountain ranges, gardens and vibrant beaches, rivals some of the most popular getaways in the world. Located on the southwestern tip of South Africa, this port city was once the place revolutionary Nelson Mandela was imprisoned before becoming president. Today visitors can ride cable cars to the top of Table Mountain, visit a beach full of penguins, or simply relax and enjoy fun shopping and dining at Greenmarket Square.

Chichén Itzá, Mexico

Located in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is a Mayan temple complex featuring famous ruins like El Castillo (seen here). Declared a World Heritage location, these dazzling monuments are also centrally located 30 minutes from popular swimming holes like Cenote Dzitnup, where visitors can float in majestic underground pools. Even better, just a little over two hours east, visitors can hit famous Mexican resort towns like Playa del Carmen and Cancún.

Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Not only is Dingle Peninsula an amazing place to find nearly 360 degrees of picturesque beaches, this popular Ireland getaway is also home to some of the most verdant grasslands in the country, proving its nickname, The Emerald Isle, is well-deserved. Travel along Slea Head Loop to see the stunning countryside and beaches, then stop and have a bite at places like The Chart House or popular Doyle’s Seafood Restaurant.

Easter Island, Chile

Also known as Rapa Nui, Easter Island is located more than 2,200 miles from the coast of Chile. Famous for its nearly 1,000 moai statues (seen here), these monolithic bodies dot the landscape and beckon visitors from around the world. Aside from the island’s rich heritage and history, it’s also an exciting vacation destination, offering romantic, secluded beaches, treks up to the Poike volcano and fine dining and drinks at their locally owned restaurants and bars.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Famous for being the place Charles Darwin formed his theories of evolution, the Galapagos Islands remain a spectacular getaway destination for travelers looking to connect with nature in all its glory. Located approximately 600 miles from Ecuador’s coast, the islands offer travelers the chance get up close and personal with some of the rarest creatures on the planet, including the land and marine iguanas. giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Off the coast of Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef, 1,429 miles of a living coral reef system that is home to a vibrant array of aquatic species. Known as the largest living thing on the planet, the famed reef sees upwards of 2 million visitors annually and is so big, it can actually be seen from outer space. Between June and October, the water is at its clearest, giving eager divers, snorkelers and swimmers a chance to witness this living miracle up close.

Great Wall of China

Stretching over 5,500 miles, the Great Wall of China is a legendary structure with an even more complicated history, stretching back to 226 B.C. While there are many stops in China to see this UNESCO World Heritage site, some of the most popular places include child-friendly Mutianyu (about 44 miles from Beijing), the hiker’s favorite section in Jinshanling and the daring (and dangerous) expanse of wall in Jiankou.

Havana, Cuba

U.S. citizens are still banned from traveling to Cuba for tourism, but there are 12 categories of travel, including: “support for the Cuban people, humanitarian projects, educational activities and religious activities,” which do allow Americans to visit this long-forbidden country. If travelers qualify, a stop in Havana, Cuba’s capital city, is a must. Built along the Atlantic coast, Havana is filled with old world charm (like Morro Castle) but also has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene tourists will love.

Hawaiian Islands

More than 2,000 miles from the coast of California, in the warm waters of the central Pacific Ocean are the Hawaiian Islands, a volcanic archipelago known throughout the world for its immense beauty and aloha spirit. With six main islands: the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai, visitors have endless opportunities for exploration, enjoying the waves and warm sunshine, shopping, dining and learning about Polynesian culture.

Inhambane Province, Mozambique

In central Mozambique is Inhambane Province, also known as Terra de Boa Gente (“land of good people”). Built on the Bay of Inhambane, this southeastern African vacation destination features more than 400 miles of shoreline and a vibrant community known worldwide for their welcoming nature. Visitors can explore the beaches, go on snorkeling or wildlife tours or visit their markets and historical landmarks, including the Manyikeni and Chibueni archaeological sites.

Interlaken, Switzerland

Centered between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz is the idyllic town of Interlaken, a popular vacation destination in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region. Set against the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau Mountains, Interlaken offers visitors some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the country, along with the opportunity to indulge in outdoor sports like skiing in the winter and white-water rafting in the summer.

Istanbul, Turkey

Although the U.S. State Department currently lists Turkey as a category 3 travel advisory (meaning “reconsider travel”), American citizens are allowed to visit. Thankfully, the wonderful city of Istanbul is safe for travelers and a great place to experience the magic of Turkey. Built on the Sea of Marmara, Istanbul is the country’s culture capital and is a popular place to explore ancient ruins, learn about Turkish customs and experience their unsurpassed nightlife and cuisine.

London, England

First built in 50 A.D., London is both the capital of England and one of the most popular cities in all of Europe. Known today for its iconic landmarks like Big Ben (seen here), the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, this historic city is a welcoming place for travelers to explore British culture. Modern offerings include shows on the famed West End, shopping in Notting Hill, enjoying a pint at a local pub or dining on fish and chips at restaurants like Kerbisher & Malt.

Los Angeles, California

Seeing the bright lights of Hollywood is just one great reason for travelers to add Los Angeles to their bucket list. With an incredible array of diverse communities (like Little Ethiopia, Little Tokyo, Thai Town and Koreatown), scenic beaches, artistic enclaves, historic landmarks, world-class museums (our favorite is the Museum of Contemporary Art ) and many of the hottest restaurants in the country, Los Angeles is a hot spot for creativity, exploration and most important: fun.

Machu Picchu, Peru

This 15th century Incan citadel draws almost 1 million visitors each year, for good reason. Overlooking the Urambamba River Valley, Machu Picchu sits high in the Andes Mountains, representing what is believed to be a royal retreat used before the fall of the Incan empire. Today this UNESCO World Heritage site is rumored to have spiritual and healing powers and is still unveiling secrets of its legendary past to the historians and archaeologists who study it.

Manitoba, Canada

In the Canadian province of Manitoba, a magic display of lights awaits travelers in the northwestern city of Churchill. Known as the aurora borealis, these northern lights are in full focus each winter, particularly from January through March. Along with seeing the dazzling light show, visitors can also witness the beauty of the tundra, where polar bears and beluga whales are found in abundance.

Mendenhall Glacier Caves, Alaska

Alaska’s 12-mile long Mendenhall Glacier Caves aren’t just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, they’re also disappearing. These frozen aquamarine caves, carved from rushing water, are otherworldly in their beauty and complexity. However, due to global warming, they’re also melting at a rapid pace, meaning this incredible destination, found just minutes from the popular city of Juneau, won’t be around forever.

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Divided by the turquoise waters of the Neretva River, Mostar is famous in Bosnia and Herzegovina for its Stari Most (old bridge) which connects the two halves of the city. The original bridge, built in the mid-16th century, was destroyed during the war in 1993, but in 2004, an identical bridge was rebuilt, giving the city back its heart. Today Mostar is a welcoming vacation destination, rich with history and old world beauty that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world.

Nassau, The Bahamas

The Bahamas are known for their beauty, but the capital of this coral-island archipelago, Nassau, takes looking good one step further. Located on New Providence Island, Nassau is a popular tourist destination throughout most of the year thanks to its proximity to Paradise Island and Blue Lagoon Island, as well as its picturesque white sand beaches, jewel-like warm waters, historical landmarks, tropical cuisine and spectacular markets (like their popular Nassau Straw Market).

New York, New York

No bucket list is complete without a stop in New York. Known for being the fashion, business, food and cultural hub of the U.S., NYC is also a wonderful place to visit. Whether travelers enjoy the bright lights of Times Square, see historic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, catch a Broadway show, pay tribute at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, stroll through Central Park or visit one of the city’s five main boroughs, they’ll never feel bored in the Big Apple.

Palawan, Philippines

Known as the Province of Palawan, this mesmerizing island getaway is part of an archipelago in the Philippines. Featuring unmatched vistas, Palawan has routinely been called the most beautiful island in the world, a title island dwellers showcase proudly. Whether visitors head to the impossibly clear turquoise waters of Kayangan Lake (seen here) or hit the sandy beaches of El Nido, Palawan will make anyone feel as if they’ve been transported to a tropical paradise.

Paris, France

It’s impossible to be a world traveler without setting foot in France’s capital city of Paris. Known for its world-famous cuisine, landmarks, art, fashion and history, Paris is one of the most important cities in the western world. Along with seeing sites like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral, travelers should make time to enjoy Paris’ renowned pastries, then head to the Louvre—the largest art museum in the world housing priceless masterpieces.

Paro Taktsang Temple, Bhutan

Although tourists are required to pay between $240 to $290 per per person, per night by rule of the Royal Government of Bhutan, the cost is worth it. The fee includes all lodging, ground transportation, meals and even a licensed tour guide. Meant to limit the impact of tourism, this set price allows visitors to have unencumbered access to this beautiful Buddhist kingdom while seeing places like the mystical Paro Taktsang Temple, built into the cliff overlooking the valley.

Petra, Jordan

Nicknamed the “Red Rose City,” Petra is an archaeological site dating back to 300 B.C. Located in southwestern Jordan, Petra is known for its buildings and temples, carved directly into sandstone cliffs. Popular locations include Al-Khazneh (seen here), which is considered one of the most complex structures in Petra. This former “lost city” and UNESCO World Heritage site is so famous, it was even featured in scenes from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Known as the City of Brotherly Love, it’s also one of the greatest places to pay homage to U.S. history. As the home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed), incredible museums (like the bizarrely wonderful Mütter Museum) and even Eastern State Pen. (the oldest penitentiary in the country), Philadelphia is more than just delicious cheese steaks and “Rocky” film scenes.

Positano, Italy

Located on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Positano is a popular vacation destination known for its beautiful cliffside dwellings and incredible coastal views. Whether travelers want to lie low on the beach, soaking up the warm sun, hike the famed Path of the Gods, spend time shopping in boutiques or dining on some of the best seafood in Italy, they won’t be bored in Positano.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

As the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest of three pyramids located in Egypt. Located just minutes from the bustling city of Cairo, the three pyramids draw between 9 million and 14 million tourists each year. Although their age is debated, the pyramids, which are named Khufu, Khafra and Menkaura, are believed to have been constructed as early as 3200 B.C and completed by 2500 B.C., making them between 4,500 and 5,200 years old.

Rome, Italy

Italy’s capital city is also one no serious traveler should miss. Loaded with historic relics like the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, Rome is also home to Vatican City, which lies in the heart of the city and draws more than 5 million people each year. Along with a rich history, Rome is also Italy’s fashion and food nexus, with designer boutiques and world-class restaurants offering some of the most incredible cuisine in the country.

Sahara Desert

Stretching over 3.6 million square miles throughout 11 countries in northern Africa, the Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world and is so big, the entire U.S. could fit inside of it. Both lethal and lovely, the immense desert isn’t a place for inexperienced trekkers to explore solo, but with knowledgeable guides, visitors can have an incredible tour (often on camels) of this vast, serene and hypnotizing desert.

San Francisco, California

Known for the Golden Gate Bridge, sourdough bread, famed Fisherman’s Wharf, cable cars and historic Alcatraz prison, San Francisco is a peninsula city with a lot more to offer visitors than what’s on their travel brochures. Hidden gems in this northern California city include Chinatown (one of the largest in the country), the famous colorful Victorian houses known as the Painted Ladies and the country’s best restaurants, including Nob Hill’s Swan Oyster Depot.

Schwangau, Germany

Found in Germany’s Bavarian province is the village of Schwangau, located along the famed Romantic Road, which stretches from the Alps to the Main River. Known for being home to the magnificent 19th century castles Neuschwanstein (seen here) and Hohenschwangau, the sleepy royal village is also perfectly situated near Füssen, a larger village known for the High Castle of Füssen.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

An adventure of a lifetime has to include an African safari, and none compare to those in Serengeti National Park. Famous for its annual great migration, where massive herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebras and more can be seen crossing the crocodile-infested Mara and Grumeti Rivers in search of new pastures. Although travelers can often see the magnificent wild animals all year long, the best months to book a safari are from June to October.

Singapore

The island nation of Singapore, which is both a country and a city, is one of the most alluring destinations in Asia. Known throughout the world for its impeccable standards of cleanliness and incredibly low crime rate, this diverse country is also a melting pot of Asian cultures, including Chinese, Malay, Indian and more. Some of the highlights of Singapore include viewing its unreal architecture (like Supertree Grove, seen here) or enjoying its world-famous street food.

Stonehaven, Scotland

For travelers who love history, sleepy beaches with emerald waters and learning about Scottish culture, then Stonehaven is the place to go. Known for being home to Dunnottar Castle, a medieval fortress built atop a sheer cliff, the fishing town is also where the festive Hogmanay Fireball Ceremony takes place each year on New Year’s Eve, featuring more than 45 fireball spinners amid thousands of eager onlookers.

Stonehenge, England

The meaning of the prehistoric, 30 foot high circular formation of Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, England, remains one of the greatest mysteries in the world. Believed to be a religious monument, or perhaps even an ancient burial ground, Stonehenge draws upwards of 800,000 curious visitors from around the world each year, eager to explore the unusual, 5,000-year-old structure.

Svalbard, Norway

Occupying an archipelago near the North Pole, Svalbard is one of the northernmost inhabited lands on Earth, making it a cool (literally) place for travelers to visit. Part of Norway, Svalbard offers visitors the chance to explore the rugged, frozen tundra of life near the Arctic, partaking in glacier and kayaking tours, where polar bears, reindeer and foxes are common sights, and even watching the breathtaking Northern Lights display.

Taj Mahal, India

Built along the banks of the River Yamuna in the city of Agra is the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and mausoleum in northern India. Opened in 1648, the white marble structure is the burial site of Emperor Shah Jahan’s most beloved bride, Mumtaz Mahal. Today, nearly 4 million people make the journey to this historic landmark, making it one of the most popular and iconic destinations in all of India, along with the nearby Agra Fort and Akbar’s Tomb.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is where technology, culture and cuisine collide. Known for innovation, Tokyo is also bustling with beautiful parks, edgy districts and world-class restaurants selling delicious meals like hand-crafted ramen, blissfully tender sushi and sashimi, crispy tempura, mouthwatering yakitori and more. Even better, Tokyo’s managed to preserve its cultural history, allowing travelers to truly witness the beauty and ingenuity of Japan.

Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Also known as Salar de Uyuni, the mesmerizing salt flats of Bolivia are located in the southwestern region of the country, near the piercing Andes mountain range. It is the largest salt flat in the world, encompassing an incredible 4,086 square miles. What’s so appealing about this former prehistoric lake is how it transforms during the rainy season in March and April. The dry, cracked landscape turns into a breathtaking mirror, reflecting the sky so vividly, it’s almost hard to tell the difference.

Vienna, Austria

Austria’s capital city is known for being the home of musical greats like Beethoven and Mozart, and the one-time residence of famed psychologist Sigmund Freud. Studded with cafes, art museums and imperial palaces, like Schönbrunn, Hofburg and Belvedere, Vienna is also an historical epicenter and holiday haven, featuring famed Christmas markets that date back to the 17th century. Often voted the world’s best city to live in, Vienna offers travelers a chance to experience the best of Austria.

Bwindi Forest National Park, Uganda

A gorilla-trekking tour in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest National Park is considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Although a considerably expensive permit ($600 per person) is required to join these incredible tours, the chance to see gorillas in the wild, as well as rare birds and jungle cats up close and personal is unlike anything most travelers will ever experience. Plus, Bwindi even has a variety of on-site lodging accommodations, allowing visitors an immersive vacation.

Source: Read Full Article