Earlier this year we talked about tantalizing travel ideas we all wish we could do – things like taking a private jet, or sailing on a cruise all around the world. In this piece we’ll adopt a similar, longing tone, but look specifically to destinations. The following are six destinations just about everyone would love to visit, and a few interesting things about each one.
1. The Great Pyramids
We can never know what the definitive top bucket list destination on Earth is, but the great pyramids of Giza have got to be in the mix. They’re likely the most famous (and spectacular) man-made attractions on Earth. Remind yourself that they were built in the 2500s BC, some 4,500 years ago, and they really become that much more wondrous. Some say you can’t truly appreciate the pyramids as engineering marvels until you see them in person and realize, among other things, the sheer size of the individual bricks. Perhaps most amazing of all, however, is that the pyramids’ mysteries are still being unraveled. Just recently, researchers found evidence of a new secret room inside the Great Pyramid!
2. The Roman Forum
More famous attractions in Rome might include the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, or perhaps even St. Peter’s Basilica (in Vatican City). But the Roman Forum really encapsulates what a lot of people hope to see in Rome, which is to say hints of the city’s incredible design in the classical age. Believed to have been the center of Roman life and activity (including its own gladiator fights, separate from the Colosseum), the Forum was undoubtedly the location for all kinds of amazing events. Important buildings and monuments at or around the Forum date all the way back to the 8th century BC, long before the days of Roman dominance.
3. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a little bit more difficult to reach than the other places on this list, but you don’t have to hike for days; there are buses that take you most of the way up to the ancient ruins. Once you’re there, one way or the other, you’ll be seeing some of the most incredible remnants of the ancient “New World” in all of the Americas. Believed to have been built in the mid-15th century (and abandoned roughly 100 years afterward), Machu Picchu is often misunderstood. It is not, as many refer to it, an ancient city. Rather, it was something of a private estate for the Incan ruler Pahacutec. Not a bad place to build your retirement home!
4. The Great Wall Of China
The Great Wall of China is something many of us are fascinated by from early childhood on. It’s a little more difficult to date specifically because parts of it were built (or rebuilt) at different times, but we know something of the Great Wall was built in the 600s BC. We also know, bizarrely enough, that it was funded by a Keno-fueled lottery (as in the same game you can play at a modern casino in 2018). More vaguely, we also know that it has stood as one of the most imposing and unusual national fortifications in human history – not to mention a sprawling piece of engineering that shows off much of China’s beautiful country.
5. The Eiffel Tower
Like some of the other landmarks and destinations on this list, the Eiffel Tower more or less speaks for itself. It’s a marvelous feat of engineering, a unique big city attraction, and it has the added benefit of being in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Riding to the top of it is supposed to be the sort of experience you remember fondly for the rest of your life. Additionally, the Eiffel Tower has a pretty interesting history. It was built as the main attraction in Paris’s effort to host the World’s Fair in 1889, and was inspired by the Latting Observatory in New York City (built in 1853). The Eiffel Tower also set off an engineering arms race of sorts, detailed in the fantastic historical novel The Devil In The White City (which incidentally is being made into a movie).
6. The Sydney Harbour
Lastly and perhaps most unexpectedly, the Sydney Harbour certainly belongs on this list. It encompasses both the famous Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, both of which are among the top attractions that lead people to want to explore Sydney, Australia. Though it’s the most modern attraction on this list by a fair margin, it’s also the most dynamic in that you can walk the bridge, attend an event at the Opera House, and even take a boat out in the harbour itself.