Traveling is a brilliant thing. It lets you see the world, meet new people, have new experiences, learn about responsibility, nature, money, politics and culture and can genuinely shape you as a person. Everyone should travel at least a little in their lives.
But, we all do it in different ways. Some of us try to see vast amounts of the world in one go on a giant expedition. Other people go on the odd city break and family weeks away with their kids. Some even wait until retirement and travel the world in their own time, with a little more money behind them, knowing they have no commitments tying them down at home and feeling like they’ve earned this one great adventure.
We also have different places on our travel bucket lists. Some of us want to visit sites of great romance, others have an urge to visit the sites of great battles, and some just want to go to Disneyland. It’s all cool. But, whenever you travel, whoever you do it with, and whatever your personal to-do list includes, there are some amazing places on earth that absolutely everyone should see before they die. Those places that take your breath away, put your life into perspective and inspire you. The sights and scenes that no computer screen or postcard could ever do justice. The places you cannot merely just hear or read about. Here is a look at 16 of these destinations.
If you are after a romantic city break, there’s none better than Venice. Spend time exploring the city’s canals by gondola, check out the renaissance architecture such as St. Mark’s Basilica and eat authentic Italian cuisine in its home. It’s also thought that Venice could be completely under water within a century if the Mediterranean Sea continues to rise. So, you’ll be experiencing something that future generations will never get a chance to see.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The great barrier reef is a popular feature on any list of must-see places. If you’ve got a keen interest in nature, swimming the Great Barrier Reef is an absolute must. The diversity of sea life, with over 1600 different species of fish, as well as other underwater life and nature, is truly breathtaking.
Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar De Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10582 square kilometres. In the right weather conditions, it’s basically transformed into a giant mirror, reflected the skyline and giving a somewhat ethereal imagery. A vision you won’t see anywhere else on earth.
Zhangye Danxia Landform, China
Also known as The Rainbow Mountains, the colourful rock formations of the Zhangye Danxia Landform in China are truly a once in a lifetime experience. The mountain sides appear to be stripes of different colours, pushed together, almost like a drawing. This is a result of red sandstone and mineral deposits collecting over 24 million years.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is so well known, it’s often one of the first places people think of when writing their travel bucket lists. The best word to describe the Canyon is immense. It’s layered rock displays millions of years of geological history, and it has a wonderful way of putting your own problems and worries into perspective.
Bamboo Forest, Japan
The Bamboo Forest is a popular tourist attraction in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Walking through the forest, you are surrounded by tall bamboo. Depending on the season of your visit, the bamboo displays varying colours including reds, yellows and oranges.
Reed Flute Cave, China
Also known as The Palace of Natural Arts, the Reed Flute Cave is named for the colourful and divergent reeds growing around its entrance. The cave itself is a water-eroded natural limestone cave. The rock formations inside have taken on many different shapes and colours, and the cave contains original ink inscriptions dating back to the 8th century.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
This national park is a forest reserve in central Croatia. If you are looking for peace and quiet and a chance to get back to nature while exploring the gorgeous scenery, this is it. The park is home to 16 lakes, joined together by waterfalls which extend into a limestone canyon. There are also hiking trails around the water to make exploring easy.
The Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole of Belize is the most massive sinkhole in the world. If you are a keen diver, like the Great Barrier Reef this is a place you simply have to dive. Explore sea life and nature you won’t get to see anywhere else on earth.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
The many National Parks in the USA are all home to their own communities, histories and culture. They offer visitors the chance to learn about their history and formation as well as any nature they may find. Yellowstone national park spreads from Wyoming into both Idaho and Montana. It’s home to canyons, rivers, forest, hot springs and geysers and hundreds of different animal species. A must for anyone that likes a bit of adventure on their break.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is well known for its beauty and grace. Even if you’ve got no interest in religion, you’ll more than likely find yourself feeling more spiritual during your trip. It’s a building renowned as a symbol of love and passion and can change your outlook on the world in general.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is the biggest religious monument in the world. A group of temple buildings, well maintained and preserved Angkor Wat is something of an architectural masterpiece. It’s the perfect blend of a huge, overpowering structure, and beautiful tiny details and will take your breath away again and again as you notice more of the finer details once you start to explore.
While you are allowed to explore the whole site, Angkor Wat is a sacred site, so you will be required to dress modestly, with your arms and legs covered for the duration of your visit.
Pamukkale is a town filled with hot, mineral-rich waters, which flow down a white hillside. It almost looks like something from a fantasy film. People believe that the soothing waters have healing properties. But, whether or not this is true, it’s great for your skin and a truly relaxing experience.
Lencois Maranhenses, Brazil
Lencois Maranhenses is a sight to behold, unlike anything else on earth. The huge expanses of desert surround fresh rainwater lagoons. Seeing it first hand can be shocking like your eyes can’t quite accept what they see as the gorgeous white sands lead into still blue waters. Definitely worth a trip.
The Northern Lights, Iceland
Seeing the Northern lights is a once in a lifetime experience. But, unfortunately, they can be hard to predict. The best time to visit Iceland if you are hoping to see the northern lights is when the nights are darkest, between September and April. But even within those months, weather plays an important part. Staying away from the city lights out in the country can also increase your chances.
Uluwatu Temple, Bali
Bali itself is a must-visit destination with its long sandy beaches, relaxing hideaways, volcanic mountains, coral reefs and wine paddies. Uluwatu Temple is a sea temple dedicated to Sang Hyang Wasa. The perfect place to visit to meditate and unwind. With so much to see, bali holiday packages can offer the best way to get around and make the most of your trip.
Remember, you’ve got your whole life to see them all. It’s never too late, or too early. So, write yourself a list and get going.
Ed note: I’ve seen 2.5 out of 16! (I can’t fully count the Grand Canyon because I don’t remember that trip as a toddler.) Tell me how many of these you’ve seen in the comments!