20 Breathtaking Places to Visit Before You Die

Places to Visit Before you Die

From glorious historical monuments to brilliant architecture, thrilling wildlife adventures, and one-of-a-kind landscapes, our planet is a tapestry of wonders waiting to be discovered. As travelers and adventurers, we aspire to visit the most spectacular and awe-inspiring locations. And if you want to see the most incredible places on earth, you need to step out and visit some of the world’s remotest corners. To quote St. Augustine, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

It’s a big, beautiful planet and one life is not enough to explore all the amazing destinations in the world. Nonetheless, few locations truly stand out as the ultimate must-visit places amidst this vast array of choices. These are places that will surprise, humble, and captivate you. Here is our choice of the world’s most beautiful destinations, which we believe you should visit before dying.

Table of Contents

1).  Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Pichu, often referred to as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, was built in the 15th century but was forgotten by the Western world for centuries. The ancient Incan city is an archaeological marvel and the most iconic remains of the massive Incan Empire. Machu Picchu sits high among the clouds on the dramatic slopes of the Andes. Encircled by mist-shrouded peaks and verdant valleys, Machu Picchu offers visitors a glimpse into the mystical world of the Inca civilization. If you are up for the task, trek into the ruins. The breathtaking panoramas along the trail will make the multi-day hike worthwhile. The trek is immensely popular, and you must reserve your spot months in advance.

2). Venice, Italy

Built on a group of 126 islands that are separated by a network of canals, Venice is a living work of art and a place unlike any other. While Veneto’s capital is unquestionably gorgeous, it is also an actual city. Their winding alleys are lined with houses, cafés, gelaterias, and boutiques. The city’s characteristic Renaissance and Gothic architecture includes the famed St. Mark’s Basilica, Piazza San Marco, and other museums and art galleries. Nothing can beat the charm of riding a gondola across the maze of canals and waterways and admiring the romantic ambiance, eye-catching islands, ornate bridges, cobblestone lanes, and centuries-old architecture. A visit to the ‘floating city’ is truly an experience of a lifetime.

Venice, Italy Itinerary for 10 Days
Venice, Italy

3).  Petra, Jordan

Petra’s raw beauty and timeless splendor have drawn tourists and historians for centuries. Carved into rose-red cliffs, Petra is an ancient city with striking archaeological ruins dating back to the 3rd century. After the city was abandoned, Petra was nearly lost to the world. The ‘Lost City’ was spotlighted when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt stumbled across it in 1812. The sandstone city is now a World Heritage Site and one of the most visited tourist destinations. Petra is a must-see for its intricate rock carvings and the maze of handcrafted tunnels, temples, and tombs sculpted from blush-pink sandstone. Al-Khazneh (The Treasury), the most famous structure, stands 39 meters tall and is a masterpiece of ancient engineering and architecture.

Petra, Top Places to Travel Every Month of the Year
Petra, Jordan

4).  Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Stretching over 4,050 square miles, Sala de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat. The huge expanse of white, gleaming salt sweeping across the Altiplano can even be seen from space. The natural wonder in Bolivia was organically caused by the transformations of several prehistoric lakes that evaporated long ago. The site is covered by unique hexagonal salt formations serving as a prime flamingo breeding ground. Salar de Uyuni is one of the world’s harshest and most spectacular landscapes. During monsoons, the rain and surrounding lakes flood the salt flats, leaving a thin layer of water that perfectly mirrors the blue sky. This is why the wet season (December-April) is usually one of the busiest in Salar de Uyuni. Every year, millions of tourists visit the natural landmark and it should find a place on your list of places to visit before you die.

5).  Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramids of Giza are one of the most iconic and talked-about structures in history. The perfect symmetry and remarkable framework have generated multiple theories regarding their origins. It is the only one of the Ancient World’s Seven Wonders that has survived intact. The pyramids are built in a complex on the Giza plateau, near the city of Cairo. Standing in front of the Pyramids of Giza is an experience that no picture or video can recreate. According to popular ancient mythology, the three massive monuments were erected 4500 years ago to serve as the ultimate resting place for the three Pharaohs, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza complex, which also includes the Great Sphinx and other cemeteries.

Best time to visit Egypt
Best time to visit Egypt

6).  Taj Mahal, India

The Taj Mahal has been hailed as one of the most beautiful structures ever made. Situated on the Yamuna River’s right bank in Agra, the ivory-white marble monument symbolizes eternal love. Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor, built the magnificent monument in memory of his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the focal point of a 17-hectare complex that includes a mosque, lush gardens, riverfront terraces, and a breathtaking reflecting pool. The Taj Mahal is completely constructed of white stone, artistically carved, and inlaid with priceless stone. Its exquisite symmetry and aesthetics serve as an enduring reminder of the artistic and technological accomplishments of the Mughal Empire. It is often regarded as the finest example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich past.

Taj Mahal, India Itinerary - 2 Weeks & 3 Weeks​
Taj Mahal, India

7).  Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls is the collective name for the three waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, that tumble along the international border between the United States and Canada. The Falls are among the most accessible marvels of nature and that should encourage you to visit it at the earliest. Six million cubic feet of water rush over Niagara Falls every minute, creating one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the world. They plunge from a height of 51 meters near the southern end of the Niagara Gorge. 

Taking a boat ride beneath the blue-green-colored falls is the best way to fully experience Niagara Falls. You’ll be drenched in ever-present mist and hear gallons of water crashing down around you every second. During the winter, perpetual mist results in some unbelievable views. Mist freezes on almost everything, including trees, rocks, and built-up areas, creating amazing views rivaling the river’s tremendous might.

Niagara Falls

8).  Patagonia, Argentina

Patagonia is enigmatic, intriguing, and staggeringly beautiful. Straddling both Chile and Argentina, Patagonia has long enticed visitors to what is almost the end of the world.  The untamed grandeur of the snow-capped mountains, gigantic glaciers, glittering lakes, pristine wild rivers, and exotic wildlife set the backdrop for an exhilarating adventure. Patagonia’s vast expanse presents an abundance of experiences and awe-inspiring landscapes. You can trek through the legendary Torres del Plaine, marvel at the thunderous Perito Moreno Glacier, embark on the fabled Andean Lakes Crossing, stop by the penguin rookery in the Beagle Channel, and explore Martillo Island’s massive penguin colonies. Patagonia’s immense wilderness and lack of substantial infrastructure make travel through the region challenging. However, that should not stop you from vitiating it before you die.

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Patagonia

9).  Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

Iguazu Falls are located between Brazil and Argentina and can be accessed from both countries. The Iguaçu River flows through Brazil for most of its journey, but the majority of the waterfalls are on the Argentine side. The falls occur in a wide expanse where the Iguaçu River plunges over the rim of the Paraná Plateau with ferocious force. As millions of litters of water pour down the gorge with a deafening roar, around 275 individual cascades form a nearly 3-kilometer-long chain of falls. The sheer magnitude of this natural wonder will astound you. 

Iguazu Falls is set against an enchanting backdrop of lush, tropical surroundings. The best view of the Falls is from the Argentina side. Devil’s Throat, a U-shaped rock with 14 waterfalls cascading over 80 meters, is the most magnificent of the falls. The spectacular fall is easily accessible to people of all fitness levels. The refreshing mist, thunderous roar, and ferocious power of plummeting water all serve to remind you of nature’s splendor.

Iguazu Falls.      Flickr.com

10).  Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island in French Polynesia, located northwest of Tahiti. It is one of the few spots on the globe that everyone wishes to visit in their lifetime. The stunning island boasts some of the most phenomenal vistas you’ll ever see. Surrounded by little islets, a gorgeous blue lagoon, and a ring of coral reef,  the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano. 

Bora Bora is loved for its lush landscapes, exquisite white beaches, turquoise waters, extravagant overwater bungalows, and crystal-clear lagoons brimming with marine life. This idyllic South Pacific gem is especially popular with luxury travelers, honeymooners, and romantics. The vibrant coral reefs and the clear waters also make it a dream destination for divers and snorkelers. Whether you enjoy adrenaline rushes or a quiet day at the beach, alternatives in Bora Bora are endless.

Bora Bora

11).  Great Wall of China, China

Stretching over more than 13,000 miles in northern China, the Great Wall of China was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The Great Wall is a series of fortifications rather than a single-structured wall. This iconic symbol of Chinese history and ingenuity was constructed over 2000 years ago to safeguard China from invaders. Snaking across the arid hills and plateaus, the fortification will surprise you with its size and historical significance. It is a testament to the excellent architectural skills of bygone civilizations. 

Visitors can explore parts of the wall, take in the panorama, and discover the fascinating tales of this remarkable man-made landmark. Although large portions of the wall are now in ruins or have vanished entirely, it remains one of the most outstanding structures on the Planet. Jinshanling to Simatai is one of the better hiking sections, with good amenities, well-preserved hiking trails, and wonderful views.

Great Wall of China, Amazing Places to Visit Before it's too late
Great Wall of China

12).  Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Located in north-eastern Australia, The Great Barrier Reef is a living masterpiece unparalleled in its beauty and biodiversity  The Great Barrier Reef, which covers an area of around 350,000 square kilometers, is made up of 900 islands and over 2900 separate reefs. Despite its location deep in the Australian sea, the world’s largest reef can be seen from space, making it an ecological marvel. 

Under the cerulean depths of the Coral Sea, lurks a vast assortment of exotic aquatic species, as well as vivid coral formations. With over 400 species of vibrant coral, 1500 types of electric-colored fishes, and 4000 kinds of mollusks, the bio-diversity of this region is staggering. It comes as no surprise that the Great Barrier Reef is home to some of the world’s top diving and snorkeling experiences. The reef is also one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, providing yet another reason to visit the fantastic location. Global warming and negligence have caused extensive harm to the reef, marine life, and seafloor. Plan your trip to this colorful, biodiverse natural treasure before it disappears.

Great Barrier Reef

13).  Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is without a doubt the world’s best-known wildlife reserve. It offers a unique opportunity to go on a safari through the expansive savannas and acacia-dotted plains and soak up the raw, untamed beauty of the African wilderness. This enormous grassland is home to an unbelievable variety of animals, including the big five (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros). 

The Serengeti Wildebeest Migration is an incredible wildlife spectacle that takes place each year. Around 1.5 million wildebeest, together with herds of zebras, gazelles, and impalas, migrate from Serengeti to Masai Mara (Kenya) in search of water and verdant meadows. Their motions attract predators such as lions, cheetahs, and crocodiles, who prey on a variety of mammals. The Wildebeest Migration is not only an unforgettable visual spectacle but also a complicated biological phenomenon that highlights the interconnectedness of species and ecosystems in the African Savannah.

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Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

14).  Santorini, Greece

Towering above the turquoise Aegean Sea, Santorini lives up to all the buzz it gets. The legendary sunsets, turquoise waters, colorful pebble beaches, well-preserved archaeological sites, and the dramatic volcanic caldera make this group of Greek Islands one of the most sought-after tourist destinations. Santorini is among the world’s top romantic places to travel, providing an idyllic background for some stunning clicks. The whitewashed houses, blue domes, and paved pathways blend well with the beautiful surroundings, creating picture-perfect panoramas. Highlights include the scenic towns of Fira and Oia, the smoking crater of Nea Kameni, the hot springs of Palia Kameni, and the Minoan ruins of Akrotiri. 

You can spend hours wandering the cobblestoned avenues, ascending the high pedestrian staircases, visiting the celebrated vineyards, having romantic dinners, browsing the charming boutiques, and witnessing one of the world’s most famous sunsets. Infinity pools, luxurious whitewashed villas, and 5-star amenities ensure a wonderful stay! You may have to deal with the crowds, but it is well worth it.

Santorini, Best Luxury Honeymoon Destinations in the World
Santorini

15).  Northern Lights, Scandinavia

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are nature’s most dazzling light show. The beauty of the flickering lights of different shapes and sizes swirling across the sky is something that everyone should see before they die. An aurora is formed when charged particles are hit with gases in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The Northern Lights we observe are bluish-green with periodic red or violet veils. The “auroral oval” – a rough ring around the Earth’s magnetic northern pole about 60 to 70 degrees latitude – is usually the best place to see the Northern Lights. So, this celestial extravaganza in the Earth’s sky is typically seen in high-latitude regions such as the Arctic and Antarctic. 

There are so many fantastic spots to observe the Northern Lights that it’s difficult to choose just one for the list. Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland are the ones that we have listed here. They are excellent locations for witnessing the Northern Lights because of the wide range of accommodations and tour companies, the ease of access, the excellent infrastructure, the wealth of thrilling outdoor activities, and the jaw-dropping, pristine terrain. Because of the anticipated peak in solar activity, 2024 is expected to be a fantastic year for viewing the Northern Lights.

Best Places To See The Northern Lights
Northern Lights

16).  Antarctica

A trip to Antarctica is an opportunity that comes only once in a lifetime. They say you should head to Antarctica after seeing everything else since nothing else can compare. Antarctica, a continent of ethereal beauty and stark wilderness, is located at the southernmost point of our planet. The “White Continent” is the closest you will come to visiting another planet. Antarctica, engulfed in a blanket of ice and snow, is a region of extremes, with the coldest temperatures on Earth, windswept landscapes, and a horizon that stretches to infinity. With no permanent human habitation and limited logistical access, it’s no surprise that is one of Earth’s most remote and unspoiled regions. 

Despite the extreme conditions, this pristine wilderness supports a diverse range of resilient wildlife, including seals, whales, and million-strong penguin colonies. Nothing beats the joy of viewing icebergs and glaciers up close, spotting penguin populations pedal down icy slopes, and watching whales emerge as you kayak through one of the most remote and phenomenal locations on the planet. Taking a cruise to Antarctica allows you to witness nature’s raw strength and pristine majesty in its purest form, making it a must-see location for everyone.

Antarctica

17).  Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands have attracted throngs of tourists due to their stark desolate beauty, rare biodiversity, gigantic sea tortoises, and playful sea lions. Scattered along the Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of Ecuador, this majestic archipelago of volcanic islands is globally renowned for its idyllic beaches, rugged volcanoes, lava stacks, and fearless wildlife. The islands are a living laboratory of natural wonders and inspired Charles Darwin’s famous theory of evolution in 1859. 

Until 1535, the world knew nothing about the islands. Without the influence of humans, the island’s flora and fauna flourished for thousands of years, evolving into unique species found nowhere else on the entire planet. These include the gigantic Galápagos tortoise, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and Galápagos penguins. So, take time to visit the intriguing island before you die. From nonstop shore adventures to island hopping cruises, you’ll never run out of things to do in the Galapagos. 

Galapagos Islands

18).  Antelope Canyon, USA

Hidden in the heart of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, Antelope Canyon is a geological wonder unlike any other. The slot canyon, sculptured into the red-orange sandstone by centuries of wind and water erosion, is a testament to Earth’s sculpting powers. The sandstone walls, molded into undulating waves and fluid curves, create a surreal labyrinth of shadows and light. The canyon’s vivid reds, oranges, and golds are illuminated by sunlight peeking through the little crevices above, casting dreamy beams of light on every wall. Thanks to its surreal beauty, Antelope Canyon is the most photographed slot canyon in the southwestern United States. 

Antelope Canyon is referred to as one canyon, but it is made up of two distinct slot canyons: Upper Antelope (The Crack) and Lower Antelope (The Corkscrew). Both are breathtakingly gorgeous, with distinctive geographical features. The Slot Canyon can only be visited with a permit and a guide as it is a Native American tribal park. 

Antelope Canyon

19).  Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar’s ancient city, is a fascinating tapestry of over 2,000 Buddhist temples, stupas, and pagodas scattered across a large plain along the Irrawaddy River. Dating back to the 9th to 13th centuries, these architectural marvels have been beautifully preserved and restored by UNESCO. As the sun rises or sets, casting a golden glow across the horizon, the haunting beauty and juxtaposition of the stupas and spires soaring above Bagan create an unforgettable panorama.  

The ‘Temple City’ stands as a testament to the rich cultural and religious heritage of the sacred landscape. Many ancient temples and pagodas are still in use today as places of worship in this country, where religion is the very essence of society. Although walking is the best way to explore these sites, taking a hot air balloon flight provides a unique opportunity to get a panoramic perspective of Bagan temples. Bagan is a must-visit destination for everyone, not just history enthusiasts and spiritual seekers.

Bagan

20).  Banff, Canada

Banff National Park covers 6,641 square kilometers of magnificent alpine terrain in the endless wildness of the Canadian Rockies. Established in 1885, Banff, Canada’s first national park, is a paradise for hikers, skiers, and nature enthusiasts. Soaring mountains, glacially-fed glaciers, idyllic waterfronts, raging river rapids, and pristine wilderness await you in Banff. The town of Banff has charming streets dotted with small shops, cozy cafes, and historical landmarks. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are the “Jewels of the Canadian Rockies”. Numerous hiking trails encircle vivid blue lakes, offering spectacular vistas at every turn. 

Millions of tourists visit Banff every year to take pictures of the brilliant green lakes, wander through the blooming fields of Sunshine Meadows, bathe in the tranquil waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs, and drive through the soaring mountain and sweeping valleys of the Icefields Parkway. The region’s incredible diversity and beauty allow you to stay busy all year – whether hiking through untamed forests and kayaking in aquamarine lakes in the summer, or skiing down the slopes and relaxing in steamy hot springs in the winter.

How many of these have you ticked off your bucket list? Would you like to add any more places to my list? Let me know in the comments.

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