Travel has pretty much come to a halt right now, but that shouldn’t stop us from dreaming of our next getaway. Of all the incredible places I’ve visited, choosing my favorite city in the world is a near-impossible feat. From iconic classics to hidden gems, there is a wealth of wonder to explore worldwide!
Since I couldn’t choose just one to be my top choice, I’ve compiled a list of what are, in my opinion, some of the best destinations in the world to visit—and you too should consider adding to your bucket list. My hope is this list will inspire you to experience one (or a few) of these destinations for yourself, someday soon.
Please keep in mind these details are subject to change. Due to COVID-19, social distancing and face coverings may be required. Be sure to check local health officials’ safety regulations and each establishment’s website for updated information before making final plans.
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My 25 Must-Visit Bucket List Travel Destinations
1. Positano, Italy
Named after Poseidon, God of the Sea, this vibrant, multi-colored hillside village on the Amalfi Coast is worth all the hype. With its winding, characteristic streets and picturesque beauty, you can live out all your Italian fantasies.
Dine on ‘scialatielli ai frutti di mare’ – a traditional Positano seafood dish, and sip prosecco until the stars come out. You can’t go wrong here!
2. Kauai, Hawaii
Forget Honolulu in Oahu, Kauai is the best Hawaiian island for adventure-seekers! Aptly nicknamed the Garden Isle, Kauai’s intense backdrop will have you humming the theme to Jurassic Park as you navigate the lush jungles and steep ravines of this mountainous island.
Don’t miss Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and discover for yourself the plunging valleys and range of this natural phenomenon. Just don’t forget to bring a jacket, it can get chilly up the lookout points.
If you want even more ideas, check out these popular Kauai Tours:
3. Santorini, Greece
A honeymooner’s favorite, Santorini is one of the most romantic places to visit in Europe. Famed for its classical whitewashed buildings, stunning sunsets, blue-domed houses, and view of the Aegean Sea.
If you’re in for a
challenge special treat, put on your walking shoes and try the Fira to Oia coastal trail. The long and windy 3-hour (picturesque hike through the island’s towns and villages) is not for the faint of heart, but a stunning experience that will easily become the highlight of your Santorini trip.
4. Miami, Florida
You didn’t for once think I’d leave this incredible city out, did you? Known worldwide for its glitz and glamour, Miami’s beaches and nightlife will have you feeling like a Hollywood star in no time.
Whether you’re living the luxurious lifestyle cruising along the waters of Biscayne Bay or soaking up the Cuban flavors in Little Havana, Miami has something for everyone.
Whatever you do, be sure not to miss iconic Miami Beach with a variety of activities to check off your Miami bucket list.
Planning a trip to Miami? Here are some other resources you might find helpful:
5. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
If it’s nature and biodiversity you’re after, the Central American country of Costa Rica is THE place to visit. I’m particularly fond of the Pacific coastline’s Manuel Antonio National Park rainforest jungle. With active volcanoes, picturesque waterfalls and lush rainforest jungles teeming with wildlife, you can put your exploring boots on and zipline through the trees into paradise.
Find Your Perfect Manuel Antonio Outdoor Adventure:
6. San Francisco, California
Best known for its landmark Golden Gate Bridge, this hip and buzzing city is one of my favorite US cities and a must-visit, especially if you’re planning on road-tripping the Pacific Coast Highway.
Whether you’re riding the iconic cable-car up and down the city’s hills, venturing out to the infamous Alcatraz Island, or taking in the panoramic views of the city’s skyline from Twin Peaks, San Francisco is the place to be.
7. London, United Kingdom
The capital of England and home to Queen Elizabeth II, London is a must-visit destination. Whether you’re visiting iconic sights Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge, or getting down with the locals at the pub or for afternoon tea, London is as diverse as it is famous.
A trip to London isn’t complete without a stop to a market (or two), Borough Market, Covent Garden Market, and Greenwich Market are just a few of my faves. Even if you are just browsing, the electric atmosphere itself is worth a visit.
8. Siem Reap, Cambodia
The gateway to the ruins of the iconic Angkor temples complex, Siem Reap is the perfect place for visiting Angkor Wat. From street markets to waterfalls, tuk-tuks and tree-root temples, you simply can’t miss this Cambodian gem.
Explore the temples shrouded in mystery and discover the secrets that lie behind the stone carvings.
9. Key West, Florida
The southernmost point of the United States, Key West is a hot spot for water sports, snorkeling, and diving. Known for its magnificent coral reefs and the house of Ernest Hemingway, whether it’s culture or fun you’re after, you’ll find it in the Conch Republic.
10. Prague, Czech Republic
Nicknamed the “City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague is famous for its gothic, medieval architecture and multitude of churches dotting the central-European city. Get lost wandering the narrow, cobbled streets or head to the nearest pub for a local beer tasting.
11. Plitviče Lakes National Park, Croatia
If it’s natural wonders you’re after, visiting Plitviče Lakes National Park will satisfy your cravings. The turquoise-water terraced lakes are joined by gushing waterfalls, surrounded by picturesque greenery and boast exceptional beauty. Croatia has its share of magical experiences, but Plitviče Lakes National Park is like something from a fairy-tale.
12. New Orleans, Louisiana
The ‘Big Easy’ is a melting pot of French, African and American culture, with bustling nightlife and the vibrant French Quarter.
Take a ride on one of the vintage streetcars that rattle down oak-lined avenues or find your way to Frenchmen Street to watch live bands play as you explore this city seemingly frozen in time.
13. Phuket, Thailand
The jade-hued waters, rainbow fish and golden-white sand beaches of Phuket make the island a diver’s, snorkeler’s and adventure seeker’s paradise. Trek through jungles reminiscent of the movie Avatar and explore treasures in the form of unparalleled views and sacred Buddhist temples.
I’ve been lucky enough to witness many golden hours, but Phuket sure does take the cake.
14. Panama City Beach, Florida
Famed for its miles of white sand beaches and calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach is the ultimate US beach destination.
Go on a dolphin-spotting tour by day and sip cocktails at the beach bars by night, Panama City Beach is the perfect place to kick back and relax.
15. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Also known as Siagon, the whirlwind city named after the former prime minister is a treasure-trove of historical relics. Ho Chi Minh City played a pivotal role in the Vietnam War, and you can visit the wartime Cu Chi tunnels and War Remnants Museum for a closer look into the country’s turbulent history. Just watch out for the seemingly endless stream of mopeds!
16. Paros, Greece
The Greek island of Paros is known for its tiny villages and surrounding crystal-clear waters. Hike the Byzantine Trail and take in the idyllic countryside, getting a feel for local life on the Aegean Sea. Surrounded by the picturesque landscape, you’ll feel just like you’re on the set of Mamma Mia!
17. Charleston, South Carolina
The southern port city of Charleston is best known for its multitude of church steeples, horse-drawn carriages, and quaint cobblestone streets. There are many homes and plantations dating back to colonial times, documenting a turbulent part of US history.
18. Tokyo, Japan
The high-tech, buzzing metropolis capital should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Explore the colorful cosplay neighborhood of Harajuku, take in the neon lights and giant billboards of Shibuya Crossing, and take in the city’s rich history. From majestic temples to futuristic shopping malls, Tokyo is the place where tradition meets technology.
19. Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
This sun-soaked Caribbean island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten divided into two parts, the northern, French-governed Saint Martin, and the southern, Dutch-governed Sint Maarten. For me, it’s the fusion of cuisine and culture and stunning mountainous scenery is that sets this unusual beach-island apart from the rest.
Activities to Add to Your St. Martin/ St. Maarten Itinerary:
20. Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital is home to pastel-colored buildings and iconic rattling trams not unlike the ones found in San Francisco. You can even hop on a funicular that connects the neighborhoods above the city for the most incredible views of Lisbon and the sea below.
21. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah’s quintessentially southern charm and picturesque natural beauty is what put this quaint city on the map. With its perfectly manicured parks complete with moss-laden oaks, majestic Gothic-style cathedral and cobblestone streets, Savannah is a hidden gem of a destination bursting with soul.
22. Barcelona, Spain
If you’re an architecture and food lover, the city of Barcelona should be at the top of your list. Visit renowned architect Gaudí’s awe-inspiring cathedral La Sagrada Familia, dine on fresh seafood paella, and take in the wide tree-lined street of Las Rambla. Rich in both beach life and culture, Barcelona is the perfect city for those who want to see it all.
23. Edinburgh, Scotland
The capital of Scotland is most famous for its medieval castles, rugged landscape and buzzing social life. The city is rich with history and culture, the Old Town itself featuring roads that take you back in time (Mary King’s Close is a must-see!) and tell the tales of the city’s grisly past.
24. New Bern, North Carolina
Filled with historic landmarks, the town of New Bern is the second oldest settled colonial town in North Carolina – and the birthplace of Pepsi. Check out the town’s architecture or visit the exact point where the now globally loved drink Pepsi was created.
25. New York City, New York
No other world city comes close to New York. The bright lights of Times Square, yellow cabs, and dramatic skyscraper skyline will have you walking around with your jaw on the floor. Stroll down the fifth avenue, sip on a pint in Long Island City, marvel at Lady Liberty after sailing the Hudson. The Big Apple is your playground.
There are as many places to visit in the world as there are experiences to be had, but these are just some of my personal favorite destinations. What impact will these destinations have on your travels? The best way to find out is to go and see for yourself!