10 Places to tick off your bucket list:

The world is filled with such a wide variety of wonderful destinations and beautiful places to visit, it can be difficult to compile a list of the best ones. Thinking about a traveler who, for whatever reason, has never set foot outside his or her home town, where would be the first places they might visit? The list of the world’s best places to visit has to include great cities, like New York, Paris, London, and so on, each of which is filled with a multitude of individual sites or must-see places to visit. The list also includes specific sites, monuments, and locations, each also worthy of a visit in their own right.  For more ideas on where to go and what to see, read our list of the top places to visit in the world.

  1. Maui, Hawaii

his Hawaiian island offers a wide range of experiences for visitors. You can surf, enjoy a meal on the beach at a five-star luxury resort in Wailea, ride a horse across a dormant volcano in Haleakala National Park, or hike through a rainforest in the West Maui Mountains. The natural scenery is amazing-it’s truly one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

When it comes to accommodation, there is something for everyone here, from rustic hippie bungalow bed and breakfasts to five-star luxury resort hotels. Wailea has all the luxury resorts-it’s like the beachfront Beverly Hills of Maui. If you’re staying here, be sure to venture out and spend some time in Kihei, where the locals hang out.

2. Masai Mara, Kenya

Kenya’s Masai Mara is an incredible bio-diverse area and a popular safari destination. It’s an opportunity to see the “big five” animals (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo) all during one trip or, if you’re lucky, during one afternoon.

The protected Masai Mara National Reserve park area is huge, over 1,500 square kilometers of mainly grassland, extending all the way to the Serengeti plain of Tanzania. The popular times to visit are during the twice-yearly migrations, the main one being in July and August. Over a million wildebeest and other animals cross the area in huge groups to go from one feeding area to another. Most visitors fly into Nairobi, then take a small bush plane to the Mara.

3. New Zealand

With its striking natural beauty, friendly citizens, and recent popularity due to its use as the filming location for the Lord of the Rings films as well as many others, this island nation is one of the world’s great places to visit. The biodiversity here is amazing — it’s believed New Zealand was one of the last places on Earth to have human inhabitants.

Start your visit off in Auckland, with its culture, history, and museums. Spend some time on the water and at the beach — Waitemata Harbour has beaches, along with a range of sailing and boating activities. 

Visit the Rotorua area to learn about and experience Indigenous Maori culture and head to Queenstown to experience the country’s wide range of outdoor extreme action sports. Remember, this is where bungee jumping was invented.

4. London, England

This historic English city is another destination just filled with incredible places to visit. A trip to London is an opportunity to visit iconic places like the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London.

Take advantage of the city being a cultural center as well by seeing a West End theater show or watching a musical performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Modern London is also a city of fine dining, luxury hotels, and world-class shopping. 

Don’t miss the museums, the vast British Museum is free, and usually quite crowded. Make time to visit The Wallace Collection, a free museum on Oxford Street. It has one of the world’s greatest collections of furniture and porcelain, along with some important Old Master paintings.

5. Manhattan, New York

One of the five boroughs of New York City, Manhattan is actually an island, bordered by the East River and the Hudson (and a little bit by the Harlem River). This island is a bit less than 23 square miles and is home to almost two million residents. Add in the daily influx of workers, and the island routinely holds close to four million people.

No other city in the world offers the frenetic energy of New York City. It’s filled with the world’s best shopping and dining, along with incredible museums. 

Manhattan also has a giant green heart, Central Park. No matter the season, it provides a playground for the city’s residents, offering a range of activities from museums to a zoo. There’s also a lot of green space where you can play and relax, along with miles of running, biking, and skating trails. You can also enjoy plenty of things to do in winter in NYC, from skating and sipping hot chocolate, to shopping and Broadway shows.

6. 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.

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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.

7. Montreal, Canada

As you listen to the sound of French being spoken around you and explore Old Montreal, wandering down its narrow cobblestone streets-you might think you’re in France. The historic area is filled with quaint shops and cafés; this Canadian city can be a chance to experience a bit of Europe in North America.

The city also has a thriving food scene, with several popular farmers markets, including the Atwater Market and the Jean Talon Market. It’s also known for its bagels, cooked hot and fresh by several iconic must-visit bakeries. 

Be sure to visit the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica and take a drive up to Mount Royal, the big hill (or low mountain) the city is named after. You’ll be rewarded with some amazing views extending all the way to the port.

8. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a truly unique American city and one of the world’s great vacation spots. Explore its hills, ride the cable cars that climb them, and eat some seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf. Also spend some time exploring Marin County on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, including the picturesque town of Sausalito. The giant redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument are only 30 minutes away and also well worth a side trip.

Be sure to also make time for a visit to or even better, a drive across, the Golden Gate Bridge. This monument to modern engineering genius spans the strait that connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The almost two-mile-long, six-lane bridge connects the Northern California city with Marin County. 

Opened in 1937, the bridge has a unique, geometric beauty and can be viewed from many areas on either side of its span. Some of the best views are from the Marin Headlands, a hilly part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a national park which includes areas on either side of the bridge.

9. Hong Kong

Asia’s largest city can feel like an Asian Manhattan, with giant skyscrapers in a compact area and a serious focus on business. But venture deeper, and you’ll find the city’s unique mix of ancient Chinese culture and remnants of its British Colonial history as well. Gleaming skyscrapers are built with hand-assembled bamboo scaffolding in a fusion of new and old.

The city is divided into two main sections: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, separated by Victoria Harbour. Take the Star Ferry across the harbor, still one of the great travel bargains, given the spectacular scenery on both sides. You can also venture into the more rural areas to discover the sparsely populated Outlying Islands, hiking trails, and beautiful beaches.

10. Cartagena, Columbia

Colorful Cartagena, one of the great historical Spanish cities of the Caribbean, pulses with life along the north coast of Colombia. Founded in 1533, its old walled city has seen its fortunes rise and fall through the centuries and has more recently experienced a resurgence and revitalization.

Significant restoration of the old city has resulted in once dilapidated 16th-century buildings springing back to life as modern, yet historical hotels, world-class restaurants, and shops. Wander through the narrow city streets to see an impressive church, an open plaza with public works of art, or an eclectic shop selling that perfect souvenir. 

Be sure to wander along the ancient city walls, and as you watch the sun set over the ocean, think back to what life used to be like here nearly 500 years ago. 

It’s easy to get to Cartagena from the United States, with daily flights from Miami and good connections through Panama City. This is the perfect destination for an exotic long weekend getaway from almost anywhere in North America.

Written and published by Lauren burger