Quitting a job and traveling around the world, checking off one bucket list destination each month, sounds more like a movie script than a realistic plan.
One of the most difficult tasks is deciding where to go because many landmarks are not as well-known as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Colosseum in Rome.
This is where the experts come in. The following list is a fascinating collection of old and new world wonders, marvelous architecture, natural phenomena, and mysterious places located all over the world – places that have been visited by people who have chosen travel as a way of life.
“One of the most stunning places in the world we've visited are the Galapagos Islands,” Stefan and Sebastien from Nomadic Boys say. “The landscapes are a standout highlight - each one unique, crafted by the laws of nature. There's also a whole array of wildlife to explore both on land and in the water. We loved it here and think everyone should visit at some stage in their life. You can check out their video here.
“This is one of the best places we've been scuba diving in the world,” the Nomadic Boys say. “The waters surrounding the Komodo National Park form part of the Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth: a paradise for divers. This is also the place to come and see the famous Komodo Dragons.”
This where Maria Stoyanova from Travelling Buzz would suggest you go. Have a cup of tea on the hills of Kolukkumalai, home to the highest tea plantations in the world, according to Kerala Tourism. The estate is about 7,900 feet above sea level, providing excellent chances for stunning views of the far off plains.
“When I think of a place that takes my breath away, my mind always goes directly to Lake Como in Italy,” Jessica Cutrufello, travel blogger at A Wanderlust For Life in the Amsterdam area, says. “It's beautiful in so many ways. The lake is absolutely stunning, the towns along the edges are charming, and the food is nothing short of Italian goodness in its simplicity. A sunny day on or around Lake Como is paradise.”
“For a winter destination, Iceland is beyond incredible,” Cutrufello says. “The town of Reykjavik has a special vibe with great restaurants and many bars to enjoy the evenings that start early due to the early sunsets.” Getting out of town will astound you with epic landscapes that you have to see to believe, she adds. “The Northern Lights are prevalent here and only adds to Mother Nature's ability to show off in this island country.”
“The best bicycle journey ever, Mateusz Emeschajmer from Getting Nowhere says. The region in Nepal and Northern India, he says, was magnificent. “We like high mountains a lot.” “We were a bit more experienced at the time of our visit to the Northern India, and spent over 5 months cycling there,” he adds.
“We loved it because of the lack of people and vivid nature and colors,” Mat says. You can actually see the stars at night, he adds. “We also like deserts a lot.”
“The cities, the people, the food – we loved everything,” Mat says. If you can see past the prejudices you will discover a place with a lot of mystery and beauty.
“We have travelled from Iran to China via Silk Road – crossed Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan,” Mat says. “We liked Kyrgyz and Tajik mountains the most (mainly the Pamirs).” The mountains of Central Asia are inhabited by nomads, who move their yurts and herds to higher altitudes in the summer, so that their animals can graze on fresh grass, he adds. “The people of this region of Asia are very friendly and hospitable; we were invited into their houses or tents many times. We enjoyed stunning views and the hardness of the road - shortness of breath on high altitude climbs became a norm.”
“There is nothing better than the rising sun above Bryce Canyon National Park,” Mat says. All parks in the state make for adventurous cycling tours.
You may also see it spelled as “Malacca.” This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most Chinese town outside of China “we have ever seen,” Mat says.
This is where Mat and his partner Anna have settled. “We love the nature, which is why we moved here.”
“It’s one of the most amazing places,” Baker says. “Seeing animals in the wild, some of which are endangered, makes you think about the Earth. Seeing elephants roam free – it’s incredible.”
“I’ve really fallen for Portugal,” Baker says. “Lisbon is one of the sunniest places in all of Europe. It’s modern – there is a lot happening – but it’s combined with old charm.” People are warm and friendly, she adds, and the food and wine as at great prices. “You can find a high quality bottle of wine for under $5.”
This is medieval town with pastoral landscapes that is “impossibly romantic,” Baker says. The narrow streets are lit up with gas lamps in the evenings and there are lots of castles, she adds.
“People go to Italy for lots of reasons but most end up in Tuscany,” Andrew Tolentino from Dish Our Town says. “I and my family love Umbria because of the topography – we have never see anything more beautiful. It’s ideal for very active people as well, and it 30 percent less expensive than Tuscany,” he adds.
You go there for activities and food, Tolentino says. “This is where I’ve seen the most beautiful beaches in the world,” he adds. The island is certainly among the top swimming and snorkeling destinations.
“It’s not relaxing but it’s very exciting,” Tolentino says. “It also has great food.” The capital is the quintessential food destination for Philippine cuisine, he adds.
This is a place to go on a relaxing vacation, Tolentino says. “All you do there is relax, surrounded by sea, jungle and people who take care of you.” The food is incredibly diverse influenced by the many faiths and colonizers who have gone through there, he adds.
“I’d recommend it any day,” Tolentino says. “It’s safe and modern in some ways; you feel as if you’re in Istanbul – you see elements of what it was before.” Kuala Lumpur is on the list of the most fun-filled cities in the world.
This is a secret place few people know about, Tolentino says. It’s in the Ardennes region of Belgium and it looks like it’s taken straight from a postcard, he adds. “It’s really charming; you’d think they made it up.” You have to go around Christmas or in the spring for the most amazing views, he says. “It’s the smallest city in the world – it has a government center, a church, a school and maybe two hotels.”
“There is so much to see outside the typical,” Tolentino, who lives in New York with his family, says. “It’s like re-reading a book and you find something new every time.”
This is a destination for a beach vacation, Tolentino says. Just a short plane ride from the tourism epicenter of Paris, the charming city is lined with palm trees and set on the Mediterranean Sea. Nice has managed to keep its historic edge, though, maintaining its old quarter, classic architecture and some of the best museums in the area.
This is a vibrant city with great art scene, food, history and nice people, Tolentino says. “They don’t get caught up in being old and move forward.” Barcelona is a nice hybrid between old and new world, he adds. You can tour the hills during the day, and have fun on the beach at night. In the evenings the sun is out until 10 p.m. in the summer, he says.
“It has a sentimental value,” Tolentino says. “It’s one of the first places I visited when I started traveling when I was younger. There is something about that “first love,” he adds. Rome is the cultural heart of Western Europe, and offers a journey through history from the days of Ancient Rome through to the Holy Roman Empire.
Mexico City really surprised Tolentino, he says. “I didn’t expect anything and I had the best time.” The people are fantastic, it’s not nearly as dangerous as some say it is, it’s beautiful, well-kept for a crowded place, and the food is spectacular, he adds. “We are not talking Chipotles everywhere.” It’s a sophisticated city and people care about it, he says.
“As much as I think Antarctica is the most amazing place in the world, I don't really want everyone to visit. I want it to stay as pristine, raw, untouched as it is,” Nellie Huang from the adventure travel blog WildJunket, says. “Antarctica is absolutely like no other place on Earth: it's remote, completely stunning and dramatic. There are wildlife everywhere: from huge penguin colonies to pods of whales and seals and they roam freely just as they should. Getting there is expensive, but well worth every penny.”
“Referred to as the ‘Hawaii of Europe’ I knew that I would feel right at home on this island of 1,000 volcanoes located off the coast of West Africa,” Teal says. On Lanzarote, the grapes grow in volcanic soil and these half-moon lava wall structures protect the plants from the wind.
This is where you go to see “Incan majesty,” Teal says. There are many different treks you can take, she adds. Perched above the Urubamba River, this is a once in a lifetime hike. You will have the opportunity to discover a piece of history and admire some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
This is a place that has a great combination of surfing and culture, Teal says. “She had teamed up with Mojo Surf to return to a place she spent much of her childhood. “I couldn’t wait to dive back into the culture, beauty, and magic of the picturesque and enchanting Southeast Asia archipelago made up of over 18,000 islands – that is now plagued by plastic waste – and make a difference!”
“It’s an incredible adventure, absolutely mind-blowing,” Teal says. The country has more waterfalls than you can imagine, she adds. “It kind of reminds me of Hawaii away from home.”
The dunes are a must-see, Lavina Dsouza from Continent Hop says. Morocco in general should be on one’s bucket list. “It’s a magical place with a real Aladdin feel,” Teal says. You feel like you’re going back to ancient time, she adds.
This tiny island of just 35 people, Dsouza says, is near Tromsø and is the absolute best place to see the Northern Lights. Because of the position of the mounatins, Uloya is where you can see them first, even before Tromso, she adds. This is also where you go for a unique ski adventure. “There is a slope that doesn’t end near the sea, but it feels like you’re going to ski straight into the ocean,” she says. The fjords are in front of you the views are stunning.
“Hats off the people who help preserve the green spaces and forests,” Dsouza says. More than 25 percent of Costa Rica’s total territory is contained in national parks and other conservation areas, protecting the country’s diverse wildlife and preserving the nation’s ecological heritage.
Finland was the one place that surprised Dsouza. “I thought it was going to be really cold.” She loved the food. “It’s very European but they go out of their way to make it innovative.” Another reason to go, she says, is the sauna culture. Just imagine – there are 5 million inhabitants and over 3 million saunas in the country.
Take a backwater trip at night to see the glowworms, Dsouza says. The mangroves are full of glowworms and fireflies. “When you put your hand in the water and shake it, all light up and the water glows, too,” she adds. This trip is perfect for solo backpackers, families or couples – everybody loves it, she says.
“It’s like you are literally living in The Lord of the Rings,” Teal says. The rolling hills, the mountains and ocean balance, the volcanoes – it’s magical, she adds.
“This well-trod route winds for six kilometers along craggy clifftops, past golden sand beaches and hidden coves dotted with surfers,” Heather Hall from Ferreting Out the Fun says. “Exotic flora line the path providing ample shade, while brightly-colored birds and dramatic ocean swells vie for your attention. I did the standard walk in reverse, beginning at Coogee Beach and ending with a swim at the famous Icebergs Pool on Bondi Beach.” The scenery grew more breathtaking around every turn, with Waverley Cemetery, Bronte Beach, and Tamarama Rocks being especially photogenic, she adds. “It took me around three hours to complete the walk, stopping often to take photos and refill my water bottle. If I was fortunate enough to live in Sydney, I'd join the locals who jog on the cliffs come weekend mornings.”
Cameron Seagle from The World Pursuit says he’d travel to Namibia “for its jarring desert landscapes that include the tallest and oldest sand dunes on Earth.”
Another favorite destination for Seagle is the Seychelles. “The most beautiful islands on Earth with lush hills, granite outcrops, abundant marine life, and Creole heritage.”
Seagle would send people to Zermatt “to see the most picturesque mountain on earth, The Matterhorn, and its charming village.
The “stunning Rocky mountains that are covered in a blanket of trees and topped by glaciers,” Seagle says, are magnificent.
The Scottish Highlands should be on a bucket list “due to its verdant hills, rugged coastline, castles, and sheer mountain faces,” Seagle says.
“A place still in its infancy with tourism but mature in scenery and natural beauty,” Abbamonte says. “It's only a matter of time before the world catches on and they start building luxury resorts in the Gobi Desert!” How many people have you heard saying they want to live a Nomadic life in rural Mongolia for a week?
Puglia is the place to visit this year, Sicilian-American and Italian travel expert Cassandra Santoro, the Founder and CEO of Travel Italian Style, says. You may have heard it before but her advice is to head to the heel of the “boot,” and the heart of authentic Italy, before the crowds come rolling in. “With the Baroque architecture of Lecce, the fairytale village of Alberobello, white sand beaches with pristine water, and streets lined by olive groves there will be plenty to see and discover during your visit,” she adds.