With so much time being stuck in this quarantine, I have realized how many destinations in the world I yearn to visit. Every single city has so many unique attributes, along with a captivating history, making each one seeming just as memorable as the last. So, without further ado, here are the cities at the top of my bucket list, places I personally would kill to visit!
Note that I am now updating these as I visit each one.
Vienna, the imperial capital of Austria, has always been towards the top of my bucket list. The first time I heard about this beautiful city was through a Billy Joel song, and ever since I have been fascinated by the architecture and the city’s rich history. Among some of the famous architecture there are the Hofburg, the Schönbrunn Palace, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which are just some of the buildings that are a sight for sore eyes. With their countless amounts of cafés and taverns as well, Vienna seems like such an enchanting destination.
Honestly, when I think of the perfect vacation, it is set in Italy. We were lucky enough to visit Rome during the summer of 2023. With the fascinating history, Rome has to be one of my favorite cities on the planet. In particular, we enjoyed a walking tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. There is so much history to see across these three locations that, while you can do it at your own pace, you’ll learn a lot more with a guide. There are many other wonderful landmarks in Rome as well, and it would take weeks to try and see them all!
Let us be real here; if Paris, the capital of France, is not on your bucket list, what are you doing? Ever since I was little, I have dreamt of visiting. I cannot even begin to list the attractions I would visit because the list would go on and on. From both the Eiffel tower and Notre-Dame, to the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre Museum (which houses the Mona Lisa and many other beautiful works), it is obvious why someone would want to visit this city of love and lights.
Holding some of the most beautiful works of art from the Renaissance, it is not hard to see why Florence is on the top of my bucket list. Among some of the must-see attractions throughout the city, there are the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, and an abundance more. The colorful and phenomenal architecture all throughout the city can make this destination one to remember! We also visited this city in 2023 and I feel like we didn’t spend enough time there, so I definitely want to return.
If you could not tell already, I have a slight obsession with Italy. This city, consisting of no roads and only canals, and 118 islands that are connected by hundreds of bridges, seems like such an exciting place. Whether you are going out on a boat ride on the Grand Canal or going to visit marvelous wonders such as the St. Mark’s Basilica, it always seems like there is something fun and interesting to do. With around 20 million tourists every year, Venice seems like the go-to destination for many.
On our 2023 trip to Italy, Venice was my favorite destination.
New York City, New York
New York City seems like a never-ending adventure with so many things to do. From visiting Time Square, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and more, to getting to watch a live Broadway show, it seems like you will never be able to do it all in one vacation. And on that topic, New York consists of 5 boroughs which are Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, which really just gives you a variety of things to do if you ever end up going.
Pisa is famous for one thing, and one thing alone: it houses the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Besides this landmark, there are a couple of other things so see, such as The Roman Catholic Baptistery of St. John, which was built in 1152, and the Cattedrale di Pisa in the Piazza dei Miracoli.
We day-tripped to Pisa from Florence, and I’m glad we did, but honestly for me this was a one-and-done. It took a long time to get there by train, walk around, have breakfast, and get back. However, doing it early was a good thing because we got there before the tower itself opened and it wasn’t crowded at all. If you want to see Pisa, I think that’s a great way to do it.
After all the Instagram influencer’s posts and movies scenes that were filmed here, I always seem to be jealous of anyone who gets to visit this beautiful island. The architecture of this island is absolutely stunning, in a way I can not explain. Instead of a traditional brick building, Santorini’s architecture is classified as Cycladic architecture, which is defined by the white buildings, blue domed churches and more, which are all breathtaking.
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
These islands are also a popular picture-perfect destination I am constantly seeing all over Instagram or travel websites, although, it is not hard to see why. The Phi Phi Islands are a group of multiple tropical islands featuring beautiful beaches and crystal-clear water, which make it the perfect summer vacation destination. These islands offer many enjoyable activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and boating around them.
A bucket list without Agra, which is a city in Northern India best known for the Taj Mahal, would not be complete. Obviously, this marvelous architecture is one of the big reasons I would visit. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum, with the tombs of Shah Jahan, emperor of the Mughal empire, and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. This mausoleum, which is built of white marble, is one of the top attractions in the whole world.
Whenever I see a photo of Istanbul, my attention is always automatically drawn towards one thing: the colorful architecture. While I think this is one of the main reasons this capital stands out against so many of places, Istanbul still has many attractions throughout the city to see. Whether you decide to visit the Hagia Sophia, which was built during the Byzantine Empire, or take a tour the Blue Mosque, where you can learn about the history of the city when it was a part of the Ottoman Empire, there are countless reasons why this astounding city is on this list.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
I have to admit that while it would be fun to catch Carnival, which has extravagant parade floats and attracts around 2 million people to the city’s streets, there are also many other things I want to do if I ever visit Rio De Janeiro. Activities such as taking the cableway to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, and seeing popular landmarks such as the Christ the Redeemer statue that stands at 38 meters tall, make visiting Rio seem like a memorable destination.
To say I have fallen in love with this entire city would be an understatement. I can not even begin to explain how homey this city makes me feel. With many canals and cobblestone streets everywhere, I am sure you can see why. With many cute activities to do, such as visiting the Market Place, which is in the center of the town, and going to see the ‘Church of Our Lady’ brick tower which has the world-renowned ‘Madonna and Child’ art collection by Michelangelo, Bruges seems like such a welcoming and exciting city.
Cusco, which was formally known as the capital of the Inca Empire, is a great place to visit to dive deep into history. The entire city is built on the remains of the former empire, giving you a bigger appreciation for the city. I recently learned about the Plaza de Armas, which is the central square and most definitely a place I would be visiting a lot, being that it is filled with arcades, restaurants, and cafés, and even a cathedral. Other places, like both the Sacred Valley and Saqsaywaman, are also historic places from the Incan Empire.
Now, if I am lucky enough, I’d probably be traveling to Barcelona to catch a game of their world-renowned soccer team, and personally one of my favorite teams, which has players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez (whom I am sure you’ve heard of). Besides their sports teams, Barcelona has many stunning landmarks, such as the Sagrada Família, a Roman Catholic basilica that is not yet finished, which make it such an exciting city to visit.
Being the capital of Spain, Madrid is definitely a big city for tourism. Ever since I was in Spanish class and learned about the Plaza Mayor, which is one of the city’s most popular places to visit, Madrid has seemed like such an intriguing city to visit, one that is rich in unique and important history and stunning landmarks. If you want more details, check out this amazing guide for visiting Madrid in one single day.
Stockholm, which is the capital of Sweden, is made up of various islands, including the mainland, connected by many bridges. The first stop would be to visit Gamla Stan which consists of cafés, boutiques, and restaurants. From what I have heard your Stockholm experience is not complete without this must-see attraction. Additionally, some other top attractions include the Vasa Maritime Museum, which holds the Vasa battleship, or the Royal Palace, which has a vast amount of Stockholm history.
Tokyo, which is one of the biggest tourist destinations, is popular for things such as Anime, their food, and more, not to mention the beautiful Japanese culture and history. I have numerous friends that have visited Tokyo and only have great things to say! Whether you are going to watch a Kabuki Theater Show, or visiting oldest shrine in the city named the Sensoji Shrine, where many come people come to practice their religions, Tokyo has such a fascinating history and culture.
With some of the most unique architecture ever, Chefchaouen stands out immensely compared to any other city in the world, and if you have seen it before you know what I am talking about. Majority of the buildings throughout the city are, for a lack of better words, just completely blue, making this city wholeheartedly unforgettable.
London, which happens to be the capital of England (if you did not know already), is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The city, which has a long history dating back many centuries, has so many activities for anyone for who visits. From the iconic Big Ben clock tower to the or the Tower of London, Parliament to medieval castles, you could spend years seeing all the historical sights.
Vatican City would have to be one of my top go-to destinations because there is just so much for one to see. By this I am referring to attractions such as the Vatican Museums, which house hundreds of pieces of art and sculptures and includes the Sistine Chapel, which, if you did not learn in history class, was painted by Michelangelo. I have to admit that if I ever were to visit the Sistine Chapel, I would probably just start tearing up out of amazement. Another popular attraction is St. Peter’s Basilica, a magnificent church reconstructed during the Renaissance. Vatican City is rich with some of my favorite history ever, and I would be missing out if I never visited!
From what I have heard, many people believe that Budapest is Europe’s hidden gem, which so many stunning sights you will never be able to forget! Budapest is split into 2 parts with the Danube River running through the city. Many of the city’s top destinations actually lie on the river, such as the Buda Castle, which used to be a royal palace but is now made up of both a gallery, which has may Hungarian art-works, as well as the Budapest History Museum and the National Szechenyi Library. Another must-see place that lies on the Danube River is the enormous Hungarian Parliament building, which is seen in majority of the photos of Budapest on the internet. With only good things to say about their visit, it is easy to understand why so many tourists visit this priceless Hungarian capital.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ capital, is yet another city that runs on a canal system, with many running throughout the city. Based off of what I have learned, Amsterdam gives me “cute, quaint town” and “let’s stop by the coffee shop” vibes, if that makes any sense. With many things to do, such as visiting the Van Gogh Museum, which holds the largest number of Van Gogh paintings ever, along with the Anne Frank house, which is where the young Anne Frank hid from Nazi Germany, Amsterdam seems like such a lovely city, with rich history for anyone to learn.
The first time I was introduced to this city was because it popped up on my Windows lock screen (No, I am not joking). Petra is a historical archeological city in the south of Jordan that dates all the back to around 300 B.C. This mysterious “Lost City” which contains the ruins of the Nabatean Kingdom and is considered one of the 7 wonders (not natural). The architecture, such as the temples or tombs, is solely carved into the cliffs around the city, making it, personally, one of the most fascinating destinations on this list.
From the moment Marlin, from the Disney classic Pixar’s ‘Finding Nemo’, arrives at Sydney, you automatically get a glimpse of the Sydney Opera House, one of the most popular landmarks from the city. Now, while I am not a big fan of opera, I would still love to visit Sydney for many reasons. Besides taking a trip to the opera, you can also visit the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Queen Victoria Building, Darling Harbour, and more!
No, just because this city is on the bottom of the list does not mean that it is my least favorite out of the others, and it is crystal clear as to why. The Palace of Versailles has to be one of the TOP tourist attractions I would ever want to visit. The history that encompasses the palace is truly remarkable, and the palace itself is visually breathtaking.
If I have to be honest, narrowing down every place I ever want to visit to a short list was one of the most difficult things I have done in a while. Even now I know that I have left off so many priceless, amazing cities, leaving you wondering why they are not on this list. Even so, I hope you agreed with this list for the most part, and even maybe learned about a new exiting destination!
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