There are no shortage of amazing sights on this planet and you probably won’t get to see all of them, so how do you decide which ones to visit? Maybe you have a rough list, but want a little more direction.
We’ve compiled a list of some classic must-see destinations with a few lower-key locations and the end result is a small sampling of some of the top sights around the world. From Arizona to Marrakech, these are the top places you need to see before you die.
This colossal canyon has beckoned people to its cutaway gorges for hundreds of years—from Native Americans who considered it a holy site to the masses of tourists that visit today to take in the grandeur—it is a sight you need to see for yourself. The Grand Canyon and it’s almost two billion years of geological history is a landmark whose importance is evident at first sight, be sure to make the trip in your lifetime.
This national park is more like a scene from a fairy tale than an actual place on earth, but the 16 crystal clear lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and vaulted caves are not only real—they’re natural formations. Water rich with minerals winds its way down waterfalls and along rocks, continuously changing the landscape as diverse wildlife (bears, wolves, rare birds and butterflies) live in the vast forest that surrounds the lakes.
From charming B&Bs to accommodations fit for royalty, it seems the tiny village of Interlaken just about has it all. A stunning mountain backdrop is the perfect scene for this outdoor adventure paradise. Visit Harder Kulm for some of the best views in the city and some great hiking trails, practice your indoor climbing at K44 or take a trip to the Alpine Garden and hike among 500 types of flowers.
Pulpit Rock (or Preikestolen) is one of the most popular natural attractions in Norway calling thrill seekers and daredevil photographers to its unbelievable drop-off. The rock formation can only be reached by hiking 2.4 miles and at the end you’ll find yourself standing on a cliff that rises 1,982 feet above the waterway below. Without guardrails, nets or any other safety measures, Pulpit Rock is a risky sight but the risk is worth the rewarding views.
Set in Zion National Park, The Narrows refers to both the epic hike and the canyon itself. Trek through soft sandstone that has been carved out by the Virgin River, with towering 1,000-foot rocks on either side. This hike is so incredible that it was named in National Geographic’s list of America’s Best Adventures. Before you set out, be aware of the warnings and conditions (flash flooding is a real thing) and be sure to cool off in the swimming holes along the way.
The Cordillera del Paine is a small group of mountains and the centerpiece of the Torres del Paine National Park. The subject of many stunning photographs and some of the best hikes in all of Chile, the park attracts roughly 150,000 visitors to its remote wilderness each year, the majority of which are foreigners. It may be a tough trip, but this park offers some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world.
Often overshadowed by nearby Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom is also made up of beautiful ruins. The city of Angkor Thom was the last stronghold for the Khmer empire, which during its heyday is believed to have supported a population of around one million people. Today some of the ruins have been restored, while others continue to erode; elaborate gates, temples and pathways lead visitors through this historic city.
Natural wonders and stunning scenery abound in Iceland. One of the least densely populated countries in the world, Iceland is blessed with hot spring lagoons, the Great Geysir, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls and lava fields—and that’s not even counting the natural phenomena like the world famous Northern Lights or the stellar midnight sun. You need to visit Iceland at least once in your lifetime, if not for the sights then for a swim in the Blue Lagoon.
Famous for distinct architecture and sunsets that will blow you away, Santorini is a volcanic island set amid the Aegean Sea. You’ve likely seen pictures of the stunning white buildings overlooking the sea—Santorini is no travel secret, but it’s still well worth a trip. Check out the black sand beaches of Perissa, the historic hilltop village of Oia and the incredible wineries in the area.
Gardens, markets and city squares—these are just a few of the conventional things that become extraordinary works of art in Marrakech. Founded in 1062 A.D., Marrakech has historical roots that run deep with slices of modern thrown in. Visit this incredible city for the food, sights and, most of all, the experience.