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Top 20 Places to See Before You Die

By Brody Patterson


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The world is filled with so many wonderful places, natural or man-made, that you probably couldn’t visit them all unless that was the only thing you ever did. But if you could only choose a handful of places to see in the course of a lifetime, the following would probably be it:

20. Neuschwanstein Castle

Built during the second half of the 19th century by a Bavarian ruler as a private retreat, it is today a popular tourist attraction. Proudly overlooking the surrounding from the top of a rugged hill, its location and design makes it the archetypal fairy tale citadel – no wonder it served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle.

19. Cappadocia

Cappadocia, in eastern Turkey, with its eerie landscape and otherworldly vibe, is one of the lesser known wonders. Some of its most remarkable features are the so-called fairy chimneys. There are also ancient houses and churches carved directly into the rock.

18. Santorini

The island of Santorini (also known as Thira) is so beautiful and serene it’s hard to imagine that it was forged in the fires of one of the volcanic eruptions in recorded history, over three and a half millennia ago. Picturesque towns located on top of its cliffs offer breathtaking views of the caldera.

17. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is the largest nearly-intact ecosystem in the planet’s northern temperate zone, featuring lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges, as well as abundant wildlife and geothermal features (most notably the famous Old Faithful Geyser, which erupts almost every 91 minutes).

16. Great Wall of China

Even though you can’t actually see it from outer space, this 4000-mile structure is an incredible achievement showing the skill and determination of its Chinese builders. It stretches from Jiayuguan, one of its main passes and also one of the best preserved parts of the structure, to the West, to the Old Dragon Head near the ocean, in the East.

15. Victoria Falls

The majestic Victoria Falls is the result of the Zambezi River encountering a 350-foot ravine along its way south. The deafening sound of all that water dropping and the white mist that results have inspired the name given to it by the locals – the smoke that thunders.

14. Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Island, volcanic in origin, rose from the sea almost 600 miles away from the continent of South America. This isolation has spurred the evolution a range of species unique to the islands, like the Galápagos tortoise or the Galápagos penguin. Charles Darwin visited the place in 1835 and the biodiversity he found contributed to his theory of evolution.

13. Pompeii

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, it covered the unsuspecting towns around it in 20 feet of ash. For the last few hundred years, archaeologists have been uncovering the ruins of Pompeii, encountering a place frozen in time.

12. Great Barrier Reef

Very impressive in scale, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure built by living organisms and can even be seen from space. It’s also a place of great biodiversity, making it a must-see for divers and nature enthusiasts.

11. Teotihuacan

The two thousand year old city of Teotihuacan is one of Central America’s most important landmarks and Mexico’s most visited historical site. Amongst its multitude of ancient buildings the awe-inspiring Pyramid of the Sun is the undoubted highlight – an architectural marvel, as well as the third largest pyramid in the world.

10. The Athens Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel overlooking the Greek encompassing a series of structures built by the Athenians during the height of their power, in the 5th century BCE. The most impressive and significant of these is the Parthenon, a great temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.

9. Easter Island

Easter Island is famous for the hundreds of mysterious statues called moai scattered along the landscape. It is also one of the most remote inhabited places on the planet, with nothing but the waters of the South Pacific for thousands of miles in every direction.

8. Zhangye Danxia

If you didn’t know better, you might think you were on mars – China’s Zhangye Danxia landform consists of brightly colored mineral deposits laid down millions of years ago. (Yes, that is an actual picture of the landscape below.)


7. Petra

Built over two thousand years ago by an Arabian tribe which controlled a lucrative trading network in the Middle East, Petra is beautiful city carved directly into the rose-colored rock.

6. Angkor Wat

Hidden in the jungles of Cambodia, Angkor Wat is the world’s largest temple complex. Impressive in scale as well as in aesthetics, this 12th century site is beautifully decorated with extensive bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.

5. Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. Built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the complex contains gardens, a reflective pool, and a series of smaller mausoleums, but the centerpiece is the grandiose dome marble mausoleum, framed by four minarets.

4. Paris

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, with its rich history, marvelous architecture, and an unparalleled cultural heritage. It boasts the wonders of the Louvre, the majestic Eiffel Tower, and the elegant Seine River, and is also close to the stunning Versailles Palace.

3. Antarctica

Not exactly the most welcoming place of the planet, Antarctica is a remote, windy, frozen wasteland. It’s a unique environment, well-worth a trip if you want to experience everything, even the most unpleasant places our planet has to offer.

2. Giza

The Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza make up one of the oldest, most impressive sites in the world and are a testament to humankind’s skill and ingenuity at the very dawn of civilization. To put in perspective just how old these things are, consider the fact that Cleopatra, the last Queen of Egypt, is closer in time to us than to the Pharaohs who built the Pyramids.

1. The Grand Canyon

Few natural wonders on Earth are as famous and also awe-inspiring as the Grand Canyon. Carved over millions of years into the rock by the mighty Colorado River, it is without a doubt one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.

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About Brody Patterson

Brody has worked as a full time staff writer for Luxatic for over five years, covering luxury news, product releases and in-depth reviews, and specializing in verticals on the website alongside the tech & leisure section, as well as men's fashion, watches and travel. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process.

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