Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
March 26, 2024 ·  5 min read

7 Places to Visit Before You Leave This World

Traveling is one of the most satisfying things you can do in life. It’s a chance to see the world from a different angle and learn about different countries. But which places must you see before you die? It can be hard to concentrate. For more than 20 years, I’ve written about travel. Recently, I talked to more than 50 experts, travel agents, and tourists. Everybody was asked to name their top picks. These are the answers that people give most often:

1. Paris, France

Paris Eiffel Tower and river Seine at sunset in Paris, France. Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks of Paris.
Credit: Shutterstock

Paris, the City of Light, was clearly the best choice. The founder of the high-end travel company Couture Trips, Susan Sherren, says she loves the atmosphere, culture, and overall romantic vibe. But the city has a lot more to offer than just crepes and biscuits. Paris is a great city for wandering and taking in beautiful scenery, whether you’re interested in the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or less well-known places like the Musée de l’Orangerie, which has a large collection of Monet paintings. Like to shop? While on a romantic trip, check out the high-end shops in Île Saint-Louis. Sail down the calm Canal St. Martin in a lovely way.

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2. Rome in Italy

View of Colosseum in Rome and morning sun, Italy, Europe.
Credit: Shutterstock

The Eternal City is a very special place to visit because of its history. Kaleigh Kirkpatrick, who made the website The Shameless Tourist and plans trips, says, “One of your top priorities should be to visit the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. After that, you should enjoy a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino wine and some pasta.” In addition to Rome’s famous pizzerias (Kirkpatrick recommends Pinsere) and breathtaking views, she always tells her clients to check out the underground ruins. Archaeologists have found a number of churches, homes, and aqueducts that were built in three old “cities” that are now part of Rome. Visitors can see these sites. To learn about Rome’s history, visit the underground tombs, which date back to the second century, or look around the public park Parco degli Acquedotti, which is just outside of the city center.

3. New York City, USA.

new york city skyline cityscape with statue of liberty over hudson river. with midtown Manhattan skyscrapers and freight sailing ship in usa america.
Credit: Shutterstock

A travel agent named Jonathan de Araujo from The Vacationeer calls New York place “a city of superlatives.”  Araujo says, “It has the best shows, the best cheesecake, the best bagels, the best pizza, and so much more.” He suggests going to the 9/11 Memorial Museum as well as famous places like Times Square and the Empire State Building. He says it is now as important to New York City’s past as the Statue of Liberty. The New York Botanical Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and award-winning Broadway shows that change schedules are some other places to visit.

4. Cape Town in South Africa

overall aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa
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The CEO of the high-end travel company Black Tomato, Tom Marchant, says that Cape Town is “the perfect destination for thrill seekers.” “There are numerous ways to enjoy the city’s views, including driving over the hair-raising Chapman’s Peak, hang gliding over Table Mountain, and staying in a cliffside villa,” he adds. He goes on to say that the best places to see Cape Town’s natural beauty are at Boulders Beach, where the famous penguin colonies are, and at Cape of Good Hope National Park. You can kayak around both of them. If that’s not your way of adventure, there are lots of fun, low-key things you can do instead: “The region’s towering cliffs and peaks are ideal for picnics in remote locations, while Long Street and Cape Malay come alive for dinner and nightlife.

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5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aerial view of Botafogo Bay from high angle, Rio De Janeiro
Credit: Shutterstock

According to Manny Salorio, founder of Go Ask a Local, “no other city on earth combines natural beauty, cosmopolitan glamour, an interesting food scene, vacation beach vibes, and fabulous nightlife all in one.” Plus, it costs less than some of the other places on our list most of the time. Many people choose to spend their whole holiday at the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. You can also go to well-known places like the Maracanã stadium, which is one of the biggest soccer stadiums in the world, and Christ the Redeemer, an Art Deco statue of Jesus. Tijuca National Park is home to over 350 animals and has some of the most beautiful views in the world. You can explore it on an ATV or Jeep. Don’t miss the city’s busy restaurants and bars where you can dance to live Samba and Bossa Nova music.

6. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Tower, Japan
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Tokyo has Buddhist buildings, futuristic technology, and clothes that look like people from other worlds. Two of the city’s many well-known features are the old Senso-ji temple and the 2,080-foot-tall Tokyo Skytree. Taking part in a tea ceremony or strolling through Golden Gai’s narrow streets lined with dive bars are both cultural experiences that you can have. The founder of the tour company EMBARK Beyond, Jack Ezon, says that even a normal night out in Tokyo feels different. The man says that Tokyo “delivers the ambiance of any world capital with a wholly unique approach,” whether it’s through the art of anticipatory service, meticulous cleaning, or high-class dining.

7. The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

lamps for sale on Grand Bazaar at Istanbul, Turkey
Credit: Shutterstock

A covered market with more than 4,000 shops, and Ottoman food are some of the things that make Istanbul, Turkey, Mind Over Matter famous. Elaina Vieira, who travels and writes about travel full-time, says that Istanbul is “a must-see destination for everyone.“When I think of Istanbul, the first word that comes to mind is chaos, but in a good way,” he says. “Visitors will encounter a sensory overload of diverse sights, sounds, and smells while exploring the city, which will only heighten their eagerness to discover more.”

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