Every traveller and daydreamer has built a list of things to do in their lifetime, even if they never consciously intended to. There’s a whole world of natural and manmade wonders out there for you to explore, and the hardest part is choosing which ones make it onto your list of things to see before you die.
It’s never easy to narrow down the options (oh, let’s say into a top 10) and even the most experienced traveller has some tough calls to make when prioritising the unmissable from the merely fun. So to save you some of the heartache, we’ve put together our own list of 10 things to see before you die.
#1: The Northern Lights
Of all the natural spectacles in this world, nothing quite compares to the northern lights. Science will tell you about atoms colliding with charged particles as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, but all that science seems almost unimportant when you see the magic with your own eyes. Finnish Lapland offers the best views of the northern lights and you can find some great deals at this time of year with an online holiday search company.
#2: Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is an incredible collection of wildlife and natural wonders in the state of Wyoming. Geysers, mud pots and the awe inspiring Grand Prismatic Spring are the geological highlights of the park. While a diverse range of wildlife includes bears, bison, lynx, moose, coyotes and mountain lions. Not to mention the supervolcano that sits underneath a majority of the park.
#3: Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
If the impressive manmade feats are more your style, then the Sistine Chapel in Rome is a great place to start. In fact, the entire city feels like a museum of architecture and monuments, including the great Coliseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Trevi Fountain. Your only challenge is navigating the huge crowds that come to Rome each year to take it all in.
#4: Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
To the north east of Phuket, Phang Nga Bay in Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s greatest sights. To see the best of Phang Nga Bay you can take a boat across its emerald green waters and navigate your way between the towering limestone cliffs. Along the way you’ll pass a number of secluded islands where you can stop off to enjoy the views.
#5: The Great Pyramids, Egypt
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Pyramids deserve a spot on any list of sights to see before you die. Tours generally take visitors along the River Nile and ultimately to the Giza Plateau where the Great Pyramids remain. Sadly, you can’t get inside all the Giza pyramids as many are closed to the public for preservation. But even from outside these structures are possibly the most impressive thing constructed by man.
#6: Temple of Dawn, Thailand
The Temple of Dawn – otherwise known as Wat Arun or Wat Chaeng – sits on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Thailand. For the best view of the temple take a night time boat ride along the river to see it lit up in golden light – or get yourself a seat in a restaurant across the opposite bank.
#7: Meteora, Greece
Meteora is of the most important Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece – and certainly the most breathtaking. Meteora translates as “suspended in the air” and it’s easy to see where this complex got its name. With monasteries sitting atop rock towers and blues skies above, you couldn’t ask for a better hiking spot with incredible views.
#8: Pamukkale, Turkey
Pamukkale is Turkey’s most famous mineral bath spa, renowned for its hot waters and striking white surfaces. Since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis people have gathered to bathe in the Antique Pool and you can take a dip for free, between its tumbled ancient columns.
#9: Rio Secreto, Mexico
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, a tour along this underground river will get the adrenaline pumping and reward you with its world-famous mineral formations. A word of warning, though: Expect eerie silence, underwater darkness and a few tights spots to squeeze through along the way.
#10: Benagil Cave in Algarve, Portugal
If an underground river sounds like too much hard work, then you can always take a relaxing trip to Benagil Cave in Algarve, Portugal. Don’t be put off by the word cave because mother nature (i.e., erosion) has carved two giant entrances and a handy sunroof up top which makes for an idyllic chill out spot on a hot summer day.
So there you have our top 10 selection… but you don’t have to stop here if you manage to make it through the entire list! We’ve barely scratched the surface of incredible temples and landscapes across Asia or the natural history of the Americas. So continue filling up those blank passport pages and turn our list into your own top 20, 30, or more things to see before you die. And why not let us know what you come up with? We’d love to hear it!