We all dream of that one exotic place we'd like to visit before we kick the bucket. Chances are, however, you keep putting off planning your getaway for the same reasons we all do – too busy and not enough money. But now may be the perfect time to set aside some time and start planning. As Mark Twain once said “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.” So instead of sitting at home dreaming about the places you'd love to visit why not dust off that passport and get going. We have helped start the process by giving you a list of the world's most beautiful and exciting places that, if aren't on your bucket list now, should be.
If you're looking for one of the best natural phenomenons of the world look no further than the northern lights in Iceland. The mysterious, multicolored show in which the night sky is lit up with a glow is not only a beautiful experience but a spiritual one as well. Between November and March is the best time to see the lights. You can take an organized tour or you can simply drive or walk to a dark area and stare at the sky. Some recommend staying somewhere that has an outdoor hot tub so you can sit in the warmth and watch the sky light up.
Great Wall of China
This popular tourist attraction is thousands of miles long and passes through 156 counties with 7,062 lookout towers. It is the largest cultural relic humans have ever built. As you climb through the vast countryside, which stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Lake in the west, you will be treated to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The less costly time to go is in the spring and fall, which is when you will get to see pink cherry blossoms and red leaves.
This massive marble temple in northern India is one of the most recognizable structures in the world. It was built in the first half of the seventeenth century by Mughai emperor Shah Jahan to hold the body of his third wife. The building however is now a mausoleum for both of them. Visiting this temple will give you a lesson is architectural history, considering the construction took more than 22 years to complete and required as many as 20,000 workers. Artisans came from all over to help create the beauty you will see, along with about 1,000 elephants that were used to transport materials. Be prepared to walk or hire a battery-powered vehicle to get around though because vehicles that emit pollution are not allowed nearby.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the best-known of the Pyramids of Giza and is one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Finished around 2,560 BC, the 481-foot creation was the tallest man-made structure in the world for 38 centuries until the completion of the Lincoln Cathedral in 14th century England.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Iguazu National Park, which is situated on the international border of Argentina and Brazil, features one of the world's most breathtaking natural wonders. The Iguazu Falls is a majestic sight of roaring water with rainbows adorning the cascades. You can get up close to these falls by walking one of the wooden walkways that stretch out over the river.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is considered one of the most significant architectural achievements of ancient times and, today, remains the world's largest religious monument. The Cambodian temple complex is internationally renowned because of its distinctive sandstone spires, artistry and massive moat that encloses the grounds.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Considered North America's greatest natural wonder, this red-hued canyon stretches 277 river miles long, eighteen miles wide and one mile deep. It will simply leave you breathless. There are plenty of spots to pull your vehicle over and take a look or you can trek along the rim. You can also go down into the canyon on mules or guided hiking tours or by raft on the Colorado River. You can even spend the night at a lodge below the rim so you can view the canyon at different times of the night and day.
Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower is not only the world's most-visited paid monument but it's also the most valuable at about $561.9 billion. It was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World's Fair. Although he was criticized at the time by many skeptics, it is one of the most beloved sites in Europe today. This is one that should definitely be crossed off your bucket list soon.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Charles Darwin once called the Galapagos Islands a “little world within itself.” In fact, the famed naturalist developed his theory of evolution by natural selection soon after his visit to these isles in 1835. This area is known as a melting pot of marine life because of its location at the confluence of three ocean currents. It's home to an abundance of colourful species, including the pink iguana and giant green tortoise.
If it's romance you are after, look no further. What could be more beautiful and romantic than eating the best pasta in the world and drinking the tastiest wine with the one you love? Venice, Italy would be on anyones romantic winner list and for good reason. You can take your loved one for a lazy gondola ride around the “floating city” past its famed Gothic and Byzantine palazzos, bohemian shops and historic cafes. You'll also get a taste of architectural beauty with the areas marble masterpieces.
You really haven't travelled and explored the wonders of nature if you haven't gone on safari in South Africa. Compared to other safari destinations, this area has an incredible amount of diversity in a beautiful country that you can enjoy while staying at some five-star lodging and eating some world-renowned cuisine. The Cape Peninsula area is famous for its penguins and the Sabi Sands area for its leopard population. The Kalahari is great for spotting large lions, rhinos and cheetahs.
This Buddhist nation has some of the highest peaks on the planet and some of the most unique monasteries that sit on top of magical cliffs. It is not only beautiful, but it's a great place to visit for hikers and mountain bikers. Because it has been cautious when it comes to tourism development, it is considered one of the least visited non-hostile nations on earth. In fact, Bhutan limits visas issued and requires travellers to have planned itineraries before they even arrive. It is also one of just two nations in the world with minimum required daily spending for visitors. When you arrive, you can stay in two of the world's best luxury hotel chains, Aman Resorts and Como Resorts.
If your looking for the trip of a life time, look no further than Hawaii. The U.S. State, located in the Central Pacific, has islands renowned for rugged cliffs, waterfalls, tropical foliage and colorful sand beaches. In other words, it lacks nothing when it comes to adventure. Surfing, hiking up volcanoes, coastal whale watching, snorkeling the may reefs, climbing or just lounging on one of its many waterfall pools are attributes of everyday life in Hawaii.
Easter Island, Chile
The carved rock statues of Easter Island, the Moai, are said to be unlike any other ruins of older civilizations since so little is known about the people who made them, why they were built or how they were moved. What makes this area worth visiting is that not many people travel here. In fact, you may be the only person visiting the Moai on any particular day. The island has other attractions as well, including tropical volcanoes and horseback tours.
You may feel like you're stepping back in time when you visit here since many of the towns are still devoted to single occupations, such as the jewelry town and the teak carving town. You will get to explore some of the most majestic sights, including volcanoes, temples and beaches. You can take a jungle excursion and, if you're looking for a little romance, eat under the stars. For water enthusiasts, the area offers world-class diving and surfing. Many of the hotels boast private pools and gardens so you are ensured privacy and romance.