The world is filled with such a variety of stunning travel destinations and amazing places to visit that it can be difficult to list the best. When you think of a traveler who, for whatever reason, has never set foot outside of their hometown, what would be the first place they might visit?
The list of the best places in the world to visit must include major cities like New York, Paris, London, etc., each of which is filled with a variety of individual places or must-see places. The list also includes specific places, monuments and places that are all worth visiting.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
Still amazes with its perfectly glued and intricate masonry without the use of mortar. Huge blocks of stone weighing several tons fit together perfectly without using mortar or concrete. A trip to Machu Picchu usually begins in the mountain town of Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. Cusco is a fascinating place to explore, so be sure to spend a few days there before or after your Machu Picchu adventure.
The entire hike takes five days, but you can also start closer and hike for one, two or three days. Machu Picchu has taken measures to avoid excessive tourism and has limited the number of daily visitors to the site. All visitors require permission before visiting.These are available four months in advance on the Peruvian Ministry of Culture’s booking site. Many websites that want to sell tours don’t provide this information.
2. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
It’s one of those beautiful places that photos or videos don’t do justice – its size and scope are hard to fathom. Given the geological formation of the past two billion years, yes billions, that same 277-mile gorge would have started five to six million years ago.It was formed by the flow of the Colorado River, which continues to flow through it and continues to disturb the geology throughout its course. The Grand Canyon is up to 18 miles wide and up to a mile deep in places. Imagine standing on the edge looking down a sheer cliff almost a mile to the river below. Most visitors come to the area known as the South Rim. Many of the Grand Canyon’s great hiking trails start here, and there are fantastic viewpoints along the road known as Desert View Drive.Various accommodation options are available here and nearby, from tents to a rustic log luxury canyoning resort. There is also some accommodation on the secluded north shore. Many visitors access the canyon via the historic Grand Canyon Railroad, which departs from the town of Williams, Arizona. The 64-mile railroad offers a fun way to get to the canyon, with food and live music on board. For those who prefer to drive, check out our articles on driving north to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix or driving to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
3. Rome, Italy
It’s a relatively small city, and a three-day itinerary allows you to cover the minimum number of must-see places. These unmissable places for any visitor are the Colosseum and the nearby Roman Forum; Pantheon; and Vatican City, a separate country in central Rome. Take the time to explore the suburbs of Rome.Consider strolling along the tomb-lined stretch of the Via Appia, an ancient Roman road, and visit one of the aqueduct ruins just outside of town. If you want to relax on the beach after all that sightseeing, Rome has a wonderful selection of seaside resorts just a short drive away on the Lazio coast. Escape the heat and bustle of the city and swim in the cool waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
4. Maui, Hawaii
You can surf, dine on the beach at a luxurious five-star resort in Wailea, horseback ride through a dormant volcano in Haleakala National Park, or hike through the rainforest in the mountains of West Maui. The natural scenery is amazing – it really is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. There is something for everyone when it comes to accommodation, from rustic hippie bungalows to five-star luxury hotels. Wailea has all the luxury resorts—it’s like the Beverly Hills boardwalk on Maui.If you’re staying here, be sure to hit the road and spend some time in Kihei, where the locals hang out.
5. Masai Mara, Kenya
The Masai Mara in Kenya is a very biodiverse area and a popular destination for safaris. This is your chance to see the “Big Five” animals (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and cape buffalo) in one visit or, if you’re lucky, in one afternoon. The Masai Mara National Park Conservation Area is vast, encompassing over 1,500 square kilometers of grassland that extends into the Serengeti Plains in Tanzania. A popular time to visit is during the biannual hikes, which take place primarily in July and August. More than a million wildebeest and other animals roam the region in large groups, moving from one feeding area to another.Most visitors arrive in Nairobi and then take a small plane to Mara.
6. New Zealand
With its stunning natural beauty, friendly locals and recent popularity due to its use as a filming location for The Lord of the Rings movies (as well as many others), this island nation is one of the best places in the world to visit. The biodiversity here is amazing: New Zealand is considered one of the last places on earth inhabited by humans. Start your visit to Auckland with its culture, history and museums. Spend time on the water and on the beach – Waitemata Harbor has beaches and a range of sailing and boating activities. Visit the Rotorua region to explore and learn about indigenous Maori culture, then head to Queenstown to experience a range of outdoor adventure sports.
7. Istanbul, Turkey
The capital of Turkey is another place that offers an excellent combination of culture, gastronomy and history. There are thousands of years of history, from the ancient Greeks and ancient Romans to the Ottoman Empire. The mixture of novelty and timelessness is unique here. You can spend the day shopping and the night in a great restaurant, eat great Turkish food and dance to Turkish music and then wake up (very early) in the morning to the sounds of Ezan or the Islamic morning prayer. It echoes across the rooftops when broadcast from loudspeakers installed on the minarets of the city’s mosques. Istanbul has excellent public transport, which means you can easily get around and visit all the major attractions and monuments. Must-see attractions include the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.
8. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Located on the outskirts of the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is the largest religious site in the world. Originally built in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple and mausoleum for the Khmer ruler, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in the late 12th century. Just part of a huge ancient city. Angkor Wat is the temple area, Angor Thom is the city and palace area. There are hundreds of other ruins in the area, all part of the ancient capital of Angkor. Siem Reap and its temples and ruins are now easily accessible via daily flights from Hong Kong and other major Asian cities. Accommodation ranges from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts with everything in between.
9. London, England
This historic English city is another place full of amazing sights. A trip to London is an opportunity to visit famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Take advantage of the fact that the city is also a cultural hub with a theatrical performance in the West End or a musical performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Don’t miss the museums, the huge British Museum is free and usually quite full.Take the time to visit The Wallace Collection, a free museum on Oxford Street. It has one of the largest collections of furniture and porcelain in the world, as well as several important old master paintings.
10. Manhattan, New York
Manhattan, one of New York’s five boroughs, is actually an island bordered by the East River and the Hudson (and part of the Harlem River). This island is just under 23 square miles and is home to nearly two million people. Add to this the daily influx of workers and the island is regularly home to nearly four million people. No other city in the world offers the crazy energy of New York. It’s filled with the best shopping and dining in the world, as well as fantastic museums. Whatever the season, it’s a city slicker’s playground and offers a variety of activities, from museums to the zoo. There are also plenty of green spaces to enjoy and relax in, as well as miles of trails for running, biking, and skating. You can also enjoy many winter activities in New York, from ice skating and sipping hot cocoa to shopping and visiting Broadway.
11. Paris, France
No visit to the French capital is complete without a trip to and a trip up its most iconic structure. The 300-meter-tall Eiffel Tower was quite simply, the tallest man-made structure in the world, from its opening in 1889 for 41 years until 1930.
Use your visit as a stair workout and climb the 300 steps from ground level to the first of three levels on the tower. If you’re in great shape, climb another 300 steps to the second level. Then hop on the elevator here to get to the top. Aside from the workout, you’ll also skip most of the crowd who want to take the elevator the whole way.
12. Montreal, Canada
As you listen to the sounds of the French language around you, explore Old Montreal and stroll down the narrow cobblestone streets, you might think you are in France. The historic district is full of charming shops and cafes. This Canadian city could be your chance to experience a little bit of Europe in North America. The city also has a thriving food scene with several popular markets including Atwater Market and Jean Talon Market. It’s also famous for its sandwiches, which are baked hot and fresh in several famous must-see bakeries. Be sure to visit the magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica and drive up Mount Royal, the great hill (or low mountain) that gives the city its name.You will be rewarded with stunning views that stretch all the way to the harbour.
13. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a truly unique American city and one of the top vacation destinations in the world. Explore the hills, ride the cable car and eat seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf. Take time to explore Marin County via the Golden Gate Bridge, including the quaint town of Sausalito. The Giant Sequoias of Muir Woods National Monument are only 30 minutes away and well worth a visit. Also take the time to visit or even cross the Golden Gate Bridge.The six-lane bridge, almost two miles long, connects the Northern California city with Marin County. Opened in 1937, the bridge has a unique geometric beauty and can be seen from many points on either side of its span. Some of the best views are from the Marin Headlands, a hilly portion of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a national park that includes areas on both sides of the bridge.
14. Hong Kong
Asia’s largest city may feel like Manhattan in Asia, with gargantuan skyscrapers packed into a small space and a serious focus on business. But if you dig deeper, you’ll discover a unique blend of ancient Chinese culture and remnants of British colonial history in this city. The gleaming skyscrapers are built with handcrafted bamboo scaffolding in a mix of old and new. The city is divided into two main parts: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, separated by Victoria Harbour. Catch the Star Ferry across the harbor, which remains one of the best travel options given the spectacular scenery on either side.You can also head to more rural areas to discover sparsely populated remote islands, hiking trails and beautiful beaches.
15. Marrakesh, Morocco
Begin your Marrakech adventure at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the Moroccan city’s main open-air square. It is the gateway to the medina or old walled city. The place is like no other in the world and presents a constant display of humanity. There are musicians, snake charmers, monkey handlers, amateur boxing matches and belly dancers in costume. It’s also a huge food market as well as a huge antique market and swap meet.You can even get a haircut or dental treatment. There are fire department shows at night and downtown there is an open-air food market with rows of food stalls in front of stalls with chairs. This exotic African destination is a short flight (usually less than four hours) from most major European cities. As a popular holiday destination, frequent flights are available. Accommodation ranges from riads, traditional houses converted into luxury hotels in the medina, to five-star luxury hotels on the outskirts of the city in an area called La Palmeraie.
16. Cartagena, Columbia
One of Spain’s greatest historic Caribbean cities, colorful Cartagena teems with life on Colombia’s north coast. Founded in 1533, the fortified old town has seen its ups and downs over the centuries and has recently experienced a renaissance and revitalization. A major renovation of the Old Town has brought once-ruined 16th-century buildings back to life, transforming them into modern, yet historic, world-class hotels, restaurants and shops. Stroll through the town’s narrow streets to see an impressive church, an open square with public artwork, or an eclectic shop selling the perfect souvenir. Take a walk along the old city walls and watch the sun set over the ocean, reminisce about what life was like here almost 500 years ago. Cartagena is easily accessible from the United States, with daily flights from Miami and good connections via Panama City. It’s the perfect location for an exotic long weekend getaway from almost anywhere in North America.