Float effortlessly on the Dead Sea
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Lying between Israel, Palestine and Jordan, this body of water has a super-high concentration of salt, meaning anyone can float like a cork on it. Plus, its shores are 423 metres below sea level so visitors get to tick off being at the lowest elevation on earth when they visit.
Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
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Next time you’re in Rome, be sure to toss a coin over your shoulder into one of the most famous fountains in the world. You might recognise this Baroque masterpiece from Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”, in which Anita Ekberg frolics in the water. Best not to copy her though – you might get stuck with a sizeable fine.
Tackle the Great Wall of China
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Put on your walking shoes and explore a section of the ancient fortifications that have origins as far back as the 7th century BC. Contrary to popular myth, the wall may not exactly be visible from space, but it’s impressive all the same. The best known – and most visited – section is Badaling, rebuilt in the 1950s.
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
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In a country full of amazing natural wonders, this day-long hike is often described as New Zealand’s best. The 19.4km track takes in views of lakes and Mount Tongariro itself. If you’re a “Lord of the Rings” fan, you might recognise parts of the landscape as Mordor, home of the Dark Lord Sauron.
Ascend the steel arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge
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Along with the Sydney Opera House, it’s among Australia’s most recognised landmarks. Climb to the top of the bridge to admire the structure of one icon while taking in breathtaking views of the other – both located in one of the most beautiful harbour cities in the world.
Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon
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The warm, not-so-clear waters of this geothermal pool are one of the most visited attractions in Iceland and they owe their milky blue colouring to a high concentration of silicate minerals. From the lagoon, bathers can see the geothermal power plant that regularly feeds fresh water into the pool.
Discover the temple complex of Angkor Wat
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Built in the 12th century, the “temple city” spans an area of more than 200 hectares and was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. If you’re in Cambodia, it’s a sight not to be missed – it’s so important to the country that it even features on the national flag.
Observe flamingos in the Atacama Desert
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You’ll find a few flamingo species, including some of the most rare, in the driest non-polar desert on Earth. Base yourself in the town of San Pedro, Chile, and explore the local salt lakes, geysers, starry skies and eerie, otherworldly desert landscapes.
Be mesmerised by the Taj Mahal
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This beautiful mausoleum was built by the emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his favourite wife in 1632 and took more than a decade to build. Finished in striking white marble, it’s been described by UNESCO as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.
See the vast expanse of the Salar de Uyuni
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Part of the Altiplano of Bolivia, this salt flat is the largest in the world. Tour across the Salar and stop by the salt-brick buildings built on the “islands”, home to giant cacti and local viscachas (a relative of the chinchilla that looks very much like a rabbit with a tail).
Dance at Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival
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Join more than two million revellers for the biggest party in the world, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Aside from the main parade with its music, samba dancers and floats, there are balls and street parties, called blocos, too. Be prepared for lots of music and dancing.
See the Big Five in the Serengeti
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Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is home to all of the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo and black rhinoceros) but it is most famous for it’s annual migration of more than 1.5 million wildebeest. Other animals include zebras, giraffes, hippopotamuses and gazelles; on a wildlife safari you might see them all.
Appreciate the Eiffel Tower in all its glory
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Whether you visit for the amazing views of Paris by day or find a suitable vantage point (preferably with drink in hand) to watch it illuminate the City of Light by night, no trip to Paris is complete without a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
Swim with whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef
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Don’t be put off by the name – these sharks are basically filter-feeding fish… that can grow up to 12 metres long. Get your snorkel gear on and try to keep up with them as they feed off the coast of Western Australia.
Salute the sunset on the island of Santorini
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This picturesque Greek island has a reputation for being one of the best sunset-viewing places in the world. Oia is where it’s at: stake out your spot early and, when the sun finally disappears over the watery horizon, don’t be surprised if you hear a chorus of applause.
Sail a small-ship expedition to the Antarctic
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Discover fascinating landscapes of the coldest and driest continent. Make landfall and you can get up close to amazing ice formations and local wildlife, including penguins, seals and whales.
Marvel at the ruins in Petra
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A dramatic approach leads to Al Khazneh, a.k.a. “The Treasury”, a monumental ancient temple in Jordan that has been carved from a natural sandstone cliff face. If you recognise its extraordinary façade, that might be because it made an appearance in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.
Dive along the Great Barrier Reef
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Off Australia’s east coast lies the largest coral reef in the world. While diving and snorkelling will get you close to the action, a glass-bottomed boat tour will also allow you to peer at the colourful coral and tropical fish without getting wet.
Watch the Aurora Borealis from a glass igloo
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You can watch this natural phenomenon from several countries, but Finnish Lapland is home to Kakslauttanen, where you can sleep in a glass-domed igloo and watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your own bed. Not for you? There are plenty of accommodation alternatives ranging from snow igloos to log cabins.
Hop on a gondola in Venice
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It wouldn’t be a trip to the floating city without catching the city’s traditional mode of transport. The only thing that can improve this quintessential Venetian activity is a glass of Prosecco – and perhaps a tune: some of the gondoliers even sing to you as they row.
Watch the sun rise over Mount Fuji
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Where better to see the dawn than in the Land of the Rising Sun? Time your trip during Japan’s cherry blossom season, and you can take in an even more beautiful view from Lake Kawaguchi.
Visit the unfinished Sagrada Família
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It’s Antoni Gaudí’s incomplete masterpiece and has dominated Barcelona’s skyline for more than a century. Several of the impressive, soaring spires of this remarkable cathedral are open to the public to climb for breathtaking views of the city.
Surf Hawaii’s Sunset Beach
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Known for its world-class surf conditions, this beach on Oahu’s north shore is the place to catch the big waves and was the one-time location for the Duke Kahanamoku surf competition. The palm-fringed crescent of perfect white sand has plenty to attract non-surfers too.
Scale New York’s Empire State Building
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Discover the decorative architectural details of one of the most notable skyscrapers in New York – the Art Deco lobby is a must-see. Go up to the observation decks for a memorable view of The City that Never Sleeps.
Dive off the Galápagos Islands
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Ecuador’s most popular tourist attraction is well known for it’s unique ecosystem, and you’ll find diverse wildlife both on land and in the waters surrounding these remote islands. Take a cruise or go for a dive to discover the underwater wonders the archipelago has to offer.
Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
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The classic version of this legendary hike takes four days and covers 43km of trail that is mostly of original Incan construction. You’ll get magnificent views of the mountainous Peruvian landscape on your approach to the celebrated architectural ruins of Machu Picchu.
Haggle in the Marrakech Souks
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You’ll find everything Morocco is know for, from carpets and slippers to metalwork and spices, in these vibrant and lively marketplaces. Be prepared to barter, sightsee and lose your way in a maze of alleys.
Stay in a water bungalow in Bora Bora
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It’s known as Tahiti’s Jewel of the South Seas where, by night you can sleep above crystalline blue waters in a private bungalow; by day you can jump into them directly from your own private deck.
Visit Moscow’s stately Red Square
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From this grand, historic city square, you can behold the Kremlin and the famous onion domes of one of Russia’s most prominent buildings, Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
Explore Canada’s first national park
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Deep within the lofty peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, more than 6500 square kilometres of glorious glacier and forest-filled landscape makes up the awe-inspiring topography of Banff National Park, one of the world’s oldest.
Celebrate the Festival of Colours in India
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The two-day Hindu spring festival of Holi is a celebration of good over evil. It begins on the first day with a bonfire gathering but the fun begins on day two, with a vibrant free-for-all explosion of colour as people hit the streets with coloured powder and water, spraying, splashing and dusting everyone in sight.
Up Next: The World’s Most Incredible Natural Wonders
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How many of these natural beauties are on your bucket list? From dramatic summits to powerful waterfalls, these splendid wonders are some of the most incredible destinations on earth.