There are countless incredible vacation spots around the world, making compiling a complete list a near-impossible task. Whether you’re trekking up high above Machu Picchu in Peru, basking in the sun on the beaches in Thailand, or watching the Northern Lights in Lapland, the diverse array of destinations worldwide offers something for every type of traveler.
If you are anything like us, the more you travel, the longer your dream destination bucket list gets! The genuine magic of travel is intrinsically tied to encountering the unfamiliar and immersing oneself in the allure of places well well-known and hidden gems.
Our globe-trotting adventures across seven continents and over 100 countries has brought us to some breathtaking destinations, and here are just a few of our favorite vacation spots in the world to visit!
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Best Vacation Spots In the World
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Medieval Neuschwanstein Castle stands as a source of immense pride for Germany, often regarded as one of the most enchanting vacation spots worldwide. This enchantment can be attributed to its deliberate construction during the late 1800s, carefully designed to resemble a fairytale castle.
The stunning architecture, replete with turrets and spires, coupled with its rich history, attracts millions of visitors annually. This historic masterpiece is nestled in the heart of Bavaria, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in a truly captivating experience, delving into the romantic era that inspired its creation.
Fjords of Norway
Few sights come close to making you feel like the fjords of Norway can. Perhaps that’s why it is one of the most popular destinations in the world. These fjords are the result of glacial erosion that occurred thousands of years ago, resulting in cliffs towering over the blue waters of Norway.
Out of all the fjords in Norway, Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are the ones that draw the most attention. They are stunning in the summer, but Norway in the winter is also a magical time. Their majestic beauty, pristine waters, and dramatic landscapes make these fjords a true gem for nature enthusiasts and adventurers, offering awe-inspiring experiences that are hard to find elsewhere
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
We’ve all heard about the pyramids of Egypt, but millions of people from around the world can’t resist the opportunity to see these colossal structures up close. The mystery, intrigue, size, tales, and enigmatic gaze of the Sphinx and the view of the ancient Pyramids of Giza makes Egypt one of the world’s best vacation spots.
A trip to Egypt doesn’t just stop in Cairo though. We spent nearly ten days in Egypt, first exploring Cairo, followed by diving in the Red Sea, and finished our trip on a Nile River Cruise sailing from Luxor to Aswan on the iconic Steam Ship Sudan.
All along the trip, we were able to see some of the most iconic sites in the world, and the ancient ruins like the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple, and Edfu Temple will have you checking your eye site. Egypt has something for every type of vacationer! Beaches? Check. Ancient history? Check. Luxury hotels like the Old Cataract? Check.
Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
To stand out in a world full of waterfalls in Africa is truly a feat, and Victoria Falls manages to do just that. Located on the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the sight of these falls will absolutely leave you speechless.
At 355 feet tall and a mile long, it’s one of the world’s largest waterfalls, with water splashing at a speed of 550,000 cubic meters per minute, there’s no way you’ll stay dry when you visit. The thunderous sound, majestic sight, and the shrouding mist all make Victoria Falls one of the top vacation spots in the world. For the ultimate vacation stop here before or after a safari in Hwange National Park. We recommend booking a stay at the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel – it’s over 100 years old!
Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia
The Uyuni Salt Flat, the world’s largest salt flats in Bolivia, draws the attention of thousands of vacationers every year. Covering 10,000 square kilometers of the Bolivian Altiplano, it’s a particularly popular vacation spot during the dry season when the salt flats resemble a vast expanse of white tiles.
However, it’s during the rainy season when the true magnificence of these salt flats shines. The flats transform into a mirror, reflecting the cloudy skies and giving the impression of walking on clouds. This makes it one of the world’s most photographed locations.
Vatnajökull Ice Caves, Iceland
You wouldn’t want to be near the Vatnajökull Ice Caves when the ice begins to melt, but in the winter, there’s no place else you’d rather be. Tourists flock to these caves during the peak of winter to witness the mesmerizing colors of the ice caves in Iceland, and visiting is one of the best things to do in Iceland.
The splashes of sparkling teal and cerulean, created by air bubbles, make it feel like you are gazing at millions of stars. A vacation in this magnificent location ensures you return home with breathtaking photographs and priceless memories.
Speaking of stars, almost every astrophile, Santa, and nature lover around the world has Lapland on their bucket list. Why wouldn’t they? This is the place where stars appear more beautiful than usual as they glimmer amidst the Northern Lights.
Lapland provides one of the most surreal experiences for vacationers as they sit on the roof of their jeeps or in front of their cabins, warming up their cold hands and gazing at the vibrant ribbons of light dancing across the sky. It’s the ultimate winter destination in Europe, and if you visit around Christmas, a visit to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is essential. It’s here you will truly feel like you have transported to the North Pole, making Lapland one of the best family vacation spots in the world.
Who could resist the opportunity to explore one of the Maya civilization’s most significant remaining archaeological complexes? Located amidst the thick rainforest of Tikal National Park, this site paints a vivid picture of Mayan culture and life during the 6th century.
The complex has structures of temples, shrines, palaces, plazas, residences, lavish courts, and more. History buffs love vacationing in Guatemala for a visit to Tikal.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
A massive Buddhist temple complex, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. You don’t necessarily have to be a Buddhist or even religious to admire the beauty and magnificence of this 162.6-hectare architectural wonder.
Considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, Angkor Wat started as a Hindu temple before Jayavarman VII rebuilt it as a Buddhist temple. Today, this complex draws thousands of visitors to Cambodia so they can admire the intricate carvings, drawings, and beautiful structures that took nearly 35 years to complete.
Most tourists make their way to the temple after midnight, trekking through the jungle to catch the first light at the temple.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
It’s undeniable that the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best vacation spots in the world if you are a scuba diver or marine lover.
Stretching over 2,300 kilometers, the coral reef is the largest in the world and the only living organism visible from space. Now, who wouldn’t want to visit Australia for a vacation down under? It’s one of the best vacation spots in the world if you’re looking to escape a harsh North American winter in favor of summer in Australia.
Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles
Many people haven’t heard of this island national. So where are the Seychelles? The Seychelles islands lie off the coast of East Africa in the warm Indian Ocean north of both Madagascar and Mauritius and just about parallel with parts of Kenya. Seychelles is already well-known for its white sand beaches surrounded by lush green foliage, but one still manages to stand out. Anse Source d’Argent is breathtakingly beautiful.
This spot is especially preferred by those who want a quiet and serene beachside vacation with sights that never fail to impress. With its turquoise waters, massive boulders, golden sand, and stunning backdrop, Anse Source d’Argent ranks among the top beaches in the world.
Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
Raja Ampat Islands are a chain of over 1,500 small islands spread across 29,000 square miles of ocean. The jungle-covered islands in this archipelago feature lagoons, white-sand beaches, hidden caves, canyons, turquoise waters, and many other natural wonders.
Mù Cang Chải, Vietnam
The sublime Mù Cang Chải needs no explanation as to why it is one of the best vacation spots in the world. The natural and man-made beauty of this rural district speaks for itself.
The village is located 1,000 meters above sea level, and its rice terraces coil around like ribbons carved out of the mountains, creating a spellbinding view. The serene sights are made even more perfect by the fact that it’s never crowded except for the farmers hard at work, allowing you to get lost in the green hills that spread over the horizon and continue as far as the eyes can see.
Every season brings new colors to the paddies, and if you are an adrenaline junkie, you can even have a daring ride around the hills on your dirt bike.
Railay West Beach, Thailand
Found along Thailand’s western coastline, the mesmerizing Railay West Beach ranks among the world’s top vacation spots for its pristine, expansive sands that meet the crystal waters of the Andaman Sea.
That may sound like a regular beach, but Railay West stands out for its limestone monoliths, azure waters, water sports, and sunsets that set the water ablaze and vividly paint the skies.
Reed Flute Caves, China
China is home to some of the most popular vacation spots, and standing tall above them all is the Reed Flute Cave. Located in the suburb of Guilin, Guangxi, the network of these caves is 240 meters deep and 500 meters long and also known as “the Palace of Natural Arts,” a nickname that isn’t hard to understand why.
Not only do these caves have stalactites, stalagmites, stone curtains, and pillars, but they also hold a history of natural formations from 180 million years ago. In a way, these caves are nature’s museum showcasing their historical art to the world’s travelers.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum is a 74,200-hectare desert landscape of red sands, oddly shaped dunes, crystal-clear waters, towering cliffs, narrow gorges, and enormous caverns that will leave you speechless while traveling Jordan.
These dunes are so uniquely shaped that nothing like them is found on this earth, hence the name, ‘Valley of the Moon.’ Wadi Rum offers its visitors more than just a unique sight. It also provides plenty of opportunities to explore and partake in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, hiking, and more.
History enthusiasts will also love stumbling upon the petroglyphs and inscriptions on the walls that are believed to date back 12,000 years.
Petra Archaeologic Park, Jordan
Speaking of Jordan, a place you won’t want to miss when in Jordan is Petra Archaeologic Park. Located within Wadi Musa, this archaeological site is easily one of the top places to visit in the world and the country’s top tourist attraction.
It’s an ancient city of the Nabataeans who carved their houses, temples, and tombs, and even created a water distribution system out of the pink-hued rocks, demonstrating such fine craftsmanship that nothing similar exists anywhere in the world. Petra’s history dates back to the fourth century B.C., with cultural traces even of Edomites and Romans as inhabitants.
Due to its ideal location between Jerusalem, Syria, the Red Sea, and Damascus, Petra was believed to be a trade hub and a flourishing city at that time. What and how the city became completely abandoned remains a mystery to this day.
Myanmar is also home to an ancient city that captures the eyes and attention of every curious traveler in the world. Old Bagan is a historical town dating back to the 9th century, with an appearance and architecture so unique and mystical that it will leave you in awe.
The town is home to around 2,200 temples, built within proximity to each other, with spires that seem to reach for the skies. Bagan presents an enchanting sight as the tree-covered land is interrupted only by the rising spires of the temples, giving the impression of a lost city concealing untold stories within it.
The best way to enjoy the city’s view is on a hot air balloon, the sight of which adds even more magic to the old city as hundreds of them rise towards the skies during sunrise and sunset.
Hallstatt is a lakeside mountain town and one of the best places to visit in Austria. It’s so naturally beautiful, historically rich, and culturally wholesome that it’s been declared the most photographed place in Europe. It is also one of the most visited places in the world for its charming autumn hues, mountainous backdrop, shimmering lake, and the 16th-century alpine houses standing tall amidst all that majestic nature. It’s beautiful year round, but we consider it one of the best summer vacation spots in the world!
Every corner of the town is beautiful and romantic in its own right, but the most popular things to do are a visit to the oldest salt mine in the world, a trip to the glacier garden, a boat ride on Lake Hallstatt, and exploring the caves in Obertraun.
Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
Think of Madagascar, and the first image in your head would be of these massive, uniquely shaped 100-foot trees. These are the Baobabs, and once upon a time, the land was a forest full of baobabs, but what remains today is an avenue of 800-year-old trees, lining a dirt road, and looking almost otherworldly with its surreal appearance.
The avenue is Madagascar’s first natural monument and one of the best vacation spots in the world. The avenue is also home to lemurs and moths, so don’t be surprised when you catch one staring at you wide-eyed.
Italy is always thought of as one of the best vacation destination in the world, and there is so much to see the country! All it takes is one unassuming picture for Saturnia to make it to the top of every traveler’s bucket list. Cascate del Mulino or Saturnia is a hillside hot spring in Italy that offers steamy waters to soak in and a sweeping view of the Tuscan countryside to feast your eyes.
The spring water is silk blue, nearly the color of a clear sky, and is heated by the nearby volcano. The rocks are carved into deep terraces, giving the thermal spring a wave-like appearance, with the water gushing down to the last level, giving visitors a choice of the level that suits their speed. This top vacation spot in Italy is also completely free of cost.
Tu Le Valley, Vietnam
The picturesque Tu Lu Valley in Vietnam is a paradise for every tourist with its terraced rice paddies, each a striking contrast of colors. Enhancing the beauty of this idyllic valley are the mountains surrounding it, the prevalence of large green fields, streams, and year-round hot springs.
All the contrasting elements of nature and the striking houses turn the valley into a rainbow of vivid colors, sharpening the senses and creating lasting memories.
The locals not only know how to grow rice and preserve the beauty of their home but also specialize in preparing the most delicious and simple sticky rice. Vacationing in Tu Le Valley opens your world to new sights and new cultures.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The archaeological site is not only beautiful and pleasing to the eyes, offering spacious vistas of nature, but it is also the ancient ruins of the lost city of the Incas, where the last Inca rulers are believed to have rebelled against the Spanish rulers.
However, that is just one of the theories. The entire site is full of mysteries and intrigue, adding to its allure. The ruins contain giant walls, the Temple of the Sun, massive stone structures, houses, courtyards, walkways, 3,000 stone steps, and much more that is baffling to the mind. If you are up for an adventure, you can’t skip out on the hike up to Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates
The sky-high Burj Khalifa is the beating heart of Dubai, and its magnificence, grandeur, and liveliness are unmatched. Standing 2,700 feet tall, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, but that isn’t the only thing that makes this skyscraper one of the most visited spots in the world.
The architecture and needle-point shape of the building are equally impressive, along with its light displays honoring events around the world, glass façade, and double-decker elevators, adding even more excitement for all those who gaze up at this beautiful man-made wonder.
If you’re not afraid of heights, you can also take the elevator to the top and experience what it’s like to be at the pinnacle of the man-made world.
The scenic Wiltshire is breathtakingly beautiful on its own, making it a good vacation spot. However, what makes it one of the best and most popular destinations in the world is the enigmatic Stonehenge.
Everything about Stonehenge is mysterious and intriguing, pulling the attention of curious tourists from across the world. The enormous monuments date back thousands of years and are considered an engineering feat during the Neolithic Period in 4,000 BC.
No one knows how these massive stones were moved to this clearing, how they were erected in a circle, and where these stones were taken from. The most popular theory is that it is a burial site or a religious space, with a lesser-believed but still likely theory that it is just natural and not man-made.
If fine dining and shopping are not your idea of a vacation, but finding yourself in bizarre lands with no explanation and plenty of enigma and unparalleled beauty is, then Socotra is the place for you.
Nature lovers and adventurers flock to Socotra every year to hear the outlandish tales of the dragon’s blood trees that are said to yield dragon’s blood and cucumbers. If you think that story is bizarre, wait until you catch sight of the trees.
The shape of the trees makes them look like giant broccolis, and their branches are filled with mushrooms. Nowhere else in the world will you find trees like these, making it a one-of-a-kind hard to get to travel destination where it’s unlikely you’ll see many other tourists around.
Ayers Rock (Uluru), Australia
Located in the Northern Territory of Australia, Ayers Rock is a herculean monolith standing 1,100 feet tall and 2.5 miles wide. This isolated rock is made of sandstone and, in addition to being naturally wondrous, is also spiritually significant for the local Aboriginal people.
The sunrise and sunset around the 550 million-year-old rock, setting the landscape ablaze in red, is a sight to behold and one of the many reasons why this is one of the world’s top travel destinations.
Table Mountain, South Africa
Located in the most beautiful city in the world, Table Mountain in Cape Town is a spectacular flat-topped, 3,000-foot-tall mountain and is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The mountain may have the smallest floral kingdom on the planet, but it is also the richest. With Devil’s Peak on one side and Lion’s Head on the other, the entire region offers a lot of things to see and do for vacationers. If you want to hike up to Table Mountain for an adventure, that’s totally possible as there are multiple trails to the top (our favorite being India Vester).
The more popular way to get on top of Table Mountain is with the Table Mountain Cable Car, which is easily one of the best things to do in Cape Town. Though you don’t have to summit Table Mountain to enjoy it, you can see it from just about anywhere in the entire city!
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
If you wish to see what the hype about Patagonia’s rugged natural beauty is all about, you need to visit Torres del Paine National Park. Encompassing an area of about 550,000 hectares, Torres del Paine National Park is primarily known for its cinematic natural beauty and for being one of the last places where you can find wild guanacos.
The unique jagged landscape, turquoise lakes, ice fields, and many other natural oases have earned this spot the title of the 8th Natural Wonder, subsequently making it one of the world’s best vacation spots.
Thinking of Japan, Tokyo may be the first city that comes to mind. However, Kyoto offers experiences unlike any other, making it one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country.
Serving as the capital of Japan and the emperor’s residence for over a thousand years, Kyoto has a rich history. The city is home to nearly 2,000 temples, each unique in their appearance. Our favorite that we always visit while in the city is Fushimi Inari-Taisha, along the 4 kilometers walk up you’ll pass numerous smaller shrines to enjoy, and plenty of photo points!
Antarctica. I don’t need to say much more than that. This continent is one of the most unique vacation destinations in the world. Not many people get to say they’ve been to the other end of the world and back.
To see one of the driest, windiest, but also most beautiful places on earth is a dream. After honeymooning to Antarctica and making this vacation of a lifetime happen this past year, we can confidently say Antarctica is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
As long as you can stomach a potentially rough Drake Passage crossing and coughing up $10,000 per person for the trip, you won’t regret traveling to Antarctica, just make sure to put some seasickness tablets on your Antarctica packing list!
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) to get notified when prices get low.
- Book a Rental Car: We use Discover Car to book all our rental cars! You can also read our top tips for renting a car abroad here.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.