There are so many amazing places around the globe to see, we couldn’t possibly include them all in just one list. But, these breathtaking destinations are definitely worth bumping to the top of your travel bucket list–whether you’re looking to relax on a beach, get off the grid or explore a city.
Zhangye Danxia Geopark, China
Geology lovers and avid Instagrammers alike will be drawn to the otherworldly hues of the “Rainbow Mountains.” The colours were formed by the layering of sedimentary mineral deposits over millions of years, but it’s hard to look at the flowing reds, yellows, and oranges and not feel like you’re witnessing magic.
If traversing the canals with a be-striped gondolier sounds unbearably touristy, stick to the sidewalks and spectacular arched bridges to get your fill of this truly unique, wildly romantic floating city.
Banff National Park, Canada
The glacial lakes in Canada’s first national park have some of the bluest water you’ve ever seen. Even if you’re not particularly outdoorsy, you can still admire the views from one of the cozy and luxurious lakeside lodges throughout the park, like the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
Head west from Melbourne on this coastal drive to see everything from the famous 12 Apostle rock formations, to koalas in Great Otway National Park as well as the charming seaside town of Lorne.
This World Heritage site is easily the most famous spot in Peru, and for good reason. The ancient terraced city’s astounding architecture and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains will leave you breathless (as might the nearly 8,000 foot elevation.)
Put every infinity pool you’ve ever seen to shame with these natural, snow-white hot springs overlooking the nearby city of Denizli. On top of the picturesque soak, Pamukkale is also home to the impressively preserved ruins of the ancient Roman spa-city Hierapolis where you can bathe like an emperor among the submerged centuries-old columns.
Japan in Cherry Blossom Season
While Japan is beautiful year-round, the few weeks each spring when cherry trees across the country explode with blossoms is a particularly pretty time to visit.
Pitons, St Lucia
These two volcanic mountains are one of the most recognizable—not to mention beautiful—features on this Caribbean island. Enjoy the Pitons from the pristine white sand beach at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort.
Located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh has changed little since the Middle Ages. You could spend days here wandering around maze-like alleyways discovering the city’s colourful souks, palaces and gardens.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
With turquoise lagoons, coral reefs and overwater bungalows, this small island in the South Pacific is basically heaven on Earth.
Oia, Santorini, Greece
All of the Greek islands are undeniably beautiful, but head to the hillside town of Oia for some of the best views of the bright blue Aegean Sea.
Mù Cang Chải, Vietnam
Get off the beaten path in this rural district where the rice paddy-terraced mountains and twisting streams will make you feel like you’re living in a fairy tale.
Tamil Nadu, India
Most travellers head to North India for its Mughal palaces and forts, but the Southern state of Tamil Nadu is where most of the country’s major Hindu temples are found, including the brightly-coloured Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple seen here and the Meenakshi Temple Complex, which is so large it’s considered a mini-city.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
If you’re looking to get off the grid, head to Chile’s Patagonia region for some of the most beautiful mountain views you’ll ever see.
Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City was the imperial palace of China’s emperors for five centuries and is one of the most beautifully preserved examples of ancient Chinese architecture.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
There are so many beautiful places in Italy it’s hard to pick just one—but the Amalfi Coast’s idyllic hillside towns, like Positano, bump it to the top of our must-see list.
Located on southern Thailand’s west coast, this province’s coastline is dotted with limestone cliffs and hundreds of islands just offshore in the Andaman Sea, making it one of the world’s most popular beach vacation destinations.
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Each year starting at the end of November and peaking in early December, fields of bright purple Russell Lupins bloom across New Zealand’s South Island. One of the most beautiful spots to go Lupin-spotting is in Fiordland National Park, home to the equally gorgeous Milford Sound.
This ancient city in central Myanmar is made up of thousands (yes, thousands) of Buddhist temples and pagodas. One of the prettiest views is from above—we recommend going for a hot air balloon ride at sunrise.
Havasu Falls, Arizona
Before you can swim in these beautiful blue-green waters located near Grand Canyon National Park, you have to hike ten miles to get there. Trust us, it’s totally worth the trek.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE
With 82 domes and enough room to accommodate 40,000 worshippers, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is not only one of the largest mosques in the world but also one of the most beautiful with a marble courtyard featuring mosaics of flowers native to the Middle East.
Situated on a series of hills over the Tagus River, Portugal’s scenic capital is brimming with magnificent views, pastel-coloured buildings and charming yellow streetcars.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
This remote volcanic archipelago (located about 200 miles off Brazil’s coast) is famous for pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters filled with sea turtles and dolphins.
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
Legend has is that after St. Basil’s Cathedral was completed in the 16th century, Ivan the Terrible had the architect blinded to prevent him from creating anything as stunning ever again.
Cape Town, South Africa
It might take nearly a full day of travel to reach Cape Town, but the city’s sweeping vistas from Table Mountain and miles of beaches are totally worth the long haul.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Located southwest of Reykjavik, Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon gets its trademark colour from the silica-rich waters that feed it. And it isn’t just pretty—the geothermal water is great for your skin too.
Located in Namibia’s coastal desert, the remote Sossusvlei region is home to the world’s tallest sand dunes including one that is nearly a quarter-mile high.
It’s hard not to fall in love with a city like Paris. Every arrondissement is full of postcard-worthy architecture, idyllic city parks seem to outnumber the people…and the food! Even that’s beautiful—macarons, anyone?
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India
While Jaipur is known as the “Pink City” for the trademark colour of its buildings, Hawa Mahal, which translates to Palace of the Winds, is one of the most beautiful examples of the city’s rosy-hued architecture.
New York City, New York
We couldn’t help adding our hometown to this list. While New York is undeniably noisy and crowded, don’t knock it until you’ve watched the sunset over the Manhattan skyline–which is just plain beautiful.
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
Nestled in the Spanish Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest located in North America. Home to an abundance of wildlife and flora, you’ll find the perfect waterfall for your next Instagram post.
Zlatni Rat, Croatia
Located on the Croatian Island of Brač, the Golden Cape is one of Europe’s top beaches. With crystal blue waters and a white pebble beach, the Golden Cape is the perfect place to take in the sun and let the air flow (some parts of the beach are clothing-optional).
Lofoten Islands, Norway
If you’re looking for the perfect mix of winter and spring then you need to check out the Lofoten Islands. Technically located in the Arctic, it contains some of the warmest temperatures due to an elevation anomaly. It’s also a great place to watch the Northern Lights in the winter season.
Miho no Matsubara, Japan
Known as a place of beauty since the 1920s, Miho no Matsubara is popularly known for its majestic pine trees. What most people fail to realize is that its black sand beaches are just as magnificent.
Isla Holbox, Mexico
Known as the perfect winter escape, Isla Holbox is situated on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. If you want an uncluttered beach and clear waters, head over and experience what many people refer to as their secret vacation spot.
Barcelona is the largest city in Catalonia and has over a dozen Antoni Gaudí installations scattered throughout. The most famous being Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, this city is perfect for any fan of Catalan modernism.
Iguazú Falls, Argentina
The Iguazú Falls is the largest waterfall system in the world. Located on the borders of Argentina and Brazil, legend has it that a powerful deity was rejected by his mortal lover and in a rage sliced the rivers thus creating the waterfalls
Home to the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza, this city was Egypt’s capital during the reign of the first pharaohs. It’s also a must-see on everyone’s bucket list.
Comino Island, Malta
Accessible by ferry only from mainland Ċirkewwa, Comino is Malta’s least inhabited island. With only three residents reported since 2017, this small island boasts some of the clearest waters known to man. Popular for its blue lagoons, this is one island you have to visit.