Do you have a bucket list? Whether you do or not, we’re about to reveal 15 places that you’ll regret not adding to your must-see destinations.
From busy cities to serene island adventures, there’s something for everyone on this list. And what they all have in common is that you’ll be able to soak in the culture and eat a lot of amazing food.
Let’s see what’s out there!
With a Whole World to See, How Do You Choose Where to Go First?
The world is full of amazing destinations. But how do you choose where to go first? We recommend determining your preferences and knowing what you’d like to do.
If going to shows in a city is your thing, choose a place like New York City. Perhaps you’re a history buff. If so, Rome and Athens are two of the best cities on the planet to visit.
Do you love to hike? Patagonia or the Grand Canyon are fulfilling destinations for hikers.
There’s so much to see out there, but don’t feel rushed. Take your time and choose one or two locations to start. You’ll quickly learn what you like to do most when you travel. Wherever you go, observe your surroundings and talk with locals. We guarantee your experience will be much better if you engage in the culture around you.
15 Places You Have to See Before You Die
Are you ready for some epic experiences? Here are 15 places you have to see in your lifetime.
#1. New York City, United States
New York City has it all, from Broadway shows to sweeping cityscapes. It sits on the east coast of the United States and has more than eight million people. NYC is famous for its entertainment, food, and business district.
Don’t Miss: There are many iconic things to do in NYC, including visiting Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. Check out the famous Times Square. Afterward, take a stroll through Central Park for some nature and quiet away from the congested streets. And we highly recommend seeing a show on Broadway during your visit.
#2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is the largest and most well-known city in the small country of the Netherlands. It’s a major hub for air transportation throughout Europe. It offers history, bicycle-friendly streets, world-class beers, and an elaborate canal system between narrow houses with gabled facades.
Don’t Miss: Amsterdam has a vibrant art community. Don’t miss the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk. You’ll find works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. In addition, we recommend visiting the Anne Frank House, which has become a museum dedicated to Anne Frank, who’s famous for keeping a diary while she and her Jewish family were in hiding during the Holocaust.
#3. Santorini, Greece
Santorini is an island in the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea. It’s one of Greece’s most popular and touristy islands. You can get to it by boat or plane.
Don’t Miss: Santorini has iconic white-washed cave houses and blue-roofed churches. If you go to the largest villages on the island, Thira and Oia, you’ll find the beautiful architecture stacked up along the high cliff walls looking out to the caldera. These two villages are full of narrow corridors lined with shops and restaurants.
#4. Fushimi Inari Shrine, Japan
Fushimi Inari Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Fushimi-Ku, Kyoto, Japan. It’s famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which line trails behind the shrine’s main buildings leading to the wooded forest of Mount Inari. Fushimi Inari is the most important shrine dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice.
Don’t Miss: The mountain hiking trails are the biggest draw to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The large, orange torii gates are beautiful and inspiring and guide you up the mountain. The hike to the summit of Mount Inari takes about three hours. There are small shrines to see along the way and a few restaurants. At the very top of the mountain, you’ll find a food stall where you can get a hard-boiled egg snack or a souvenir.
Traveler’s Tip: We can help you determine if travel insurance is worth it for your next trip.
#5. New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, just east of Australia. It’s split into two main islands and has approximately 700 small islands within its borders. The country offers lush green landscapes and a breathtaking coastline. In fact, 30% of New Zealand is a protected national reserve.
Don’t Miss: Spend as much time exploring the outdoors as possible when visiting New Zealand. We highly recommend renting a car or camper van and taking a road trip. This will allow you to stop at cultural venues, some of which are off the beaten path. Also, stop at wineries along the way to sip New Zealand’s finest.
#6. Paris, France
Paris’ history goes back a long way, but today people know it for fashion, romance, historical landmarks, cafes, and museums. The Notre-Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles Palace, and Louvre Museum are its most iconic landmarks.
Don’t Miss: First-time visitors to Paris must start by seeing the famous museums and historical sites. After you’ve done a tour of the city, wander the streets of Paris and sit in outdoor cafes to observe the lively surroundings.
#7. The Grand Canyon, United States
Grand Canyon National Park is in Arizona. It’s a one-mile-deep canyon that’s 18 miles wide. The canyon stretches 277 miles. You can visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon year-round. The North Rim is open during summer.
Don’t Miss: If you only have a day at the Grand Canyon, we recommend hiking the South Rim trail. It will give you the most majestic views of the canyon. The trail is paved in most parts and easy for most any skill level. For those looking for a more physically demanding adventure, you can hike down below the canyon rim. There are also options for backcountry hiking.
Traveler’s Tip: Exquisite destinations and amazing trips don’t have to cost you a fortune. Learn the cheapest way to see America.
#8. Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
Iguazu Falls are the largest waterfalls in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They divide the lower and upper Iguazu River on the border of Argentina and Brazil.
Don’t Miss: Iguazu Falls are engulfed by beautiful flora and wildlife. Hiking around the national park is something you won’t want to miss when visiting the falls. Hiking trails are accessible year-round. We recommend bringing binoculars for birdwatching along the way.
#9. Athens, Greece
Athens is the epicenter of ancient Greece and the capital of modern Greece. The city’s Acropolis is one of the most famous archeological sites in Europe. The city serves as the gateway to the southernmost Greek islands.
Don’t Miss: Visiting the archeological sites is a must when in Athens. You can do a self-guided walking tour or book a professional tour. If you’re looking for a deep dive, hiring a tour guide is the way to go. You can see all of the major archeological sites in Athens in one day. Then, spend a second day going to museums.
#10. Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel sitting 7,972 above sea level in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Its walls of dry stone blocks were built in the 15th century. Machu Picchu was a royal estate or sacred religious site until Spanish invaders destroyed it in the 16th century.
Don’t Miss: The only way to get to Machu Picchu is by hiking the Inca Trail or taking a bus from Aguas Calientes. Once you get to the ruins, we recommend a guided tour. Local guides have a vast knowledge of the ancient site.
#11. Rome, Italy
Rome boasts stunning architecture, historical sites, art, and food culture. It’s also famous for housing the smallest country in the world, Vatican City.
Don’t Miss: You’ll probably need more than a day to experience Rome. We recommend spending your first day going to all of the major archeological sites, including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Roman Forum. On your second day, get up early to be one of the first in line to see the Vatican.
#12. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which is in the northwest region of the country. It’s one of the largest temple complexes in the world. There are several other temples that you can visit in the area as well, but Angkor Wat is the most famous and picturesque.
Don’t Miss: When visiting Angkor Wat, hire a private guide. The guide will take you to any of the temples you want to see or recommend a route. Be sure to get to Angkor Wat at sunrise. When the sun rises over the back of the temple, the pillars on top of the structure are reflected in front of the lake in front of it. It’s truly an experience worth seeing.
#13. Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey known for its “fairy chimneys.” They’re tall, cone-shaped rock formations in Monks Valley. Famously, hundreds of hot air balloons soar over the valley each morning at sunrise.
Don’t Miss: Seeing the hot air balloons at sunrise is a must when in Cappadocia. You can even book a ride in a balloon. This may seem quite touristy, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For the rest of the day, experience Turkish culture and cuisine. And take a hike through the valley and rock formations.
#14. The Highlands, Scotland
The Scottish Highlands are approximately 10,000 square miles of mountains in northwest Scotland. They include beautiful landscapes and castles. The Highlands is also Scotland’s largest geographical area for producing whisky.
Don’t Miss: Be sure to go to the Isle of Skye. It’s a large island on the west side of the Highlands that offers some of the most stunning views in the country. We also recommend checking out Cairngorms National Park for hiking.
#15. Patagonia, Argentina
Patagonia is a wilderness region covering the southernmost tip of South America, which is shared by Argentina and Chile. The Andes Mountains make up the border. Patagonia is full of grassland, deserts, glacial fjords, and rainforest.
Don’t Miss: Hiking is one of the main reasons people visit Patagonia. There are miles and miles of foot and horse trails. You can also kayak and do other outdoor activities. We recommend starting at a national park during your trip and talking with locals about the best places to go.
Where Will You Go?
We hope you’re able to get to one or all of these places in your lifetime. Each is distinct and offers memories that you’ll take with you forever. Which of these locations made your list?