The Top Ten Places to Visit in the World
Everyone has their own opinion about the best places to visit in the world. The world is obviously a big place and there are so many gorgeous places. This is my list of what I believe are the top ten places to visit.
Although, I would not visit them all again, I am glad I got a chance to at least experience these places for myself. These will be reviewed in no particular order and are not listed by ranking. Also, each picture you will see here are ones that I have taken, so they are not all picture perfect.
Three of them are located in the United States(two in the state of California). Three of them are located in the Country of Italy. Two of them are located in the island nation of the Philippines. One is a U.S. territory. And, one is located in China. So, let's get started on our journey.
Venice is a definite must see with its unique waterways that fill up with Gondolas and other small boats. Venice is known as the "City of Stairs" due to its paved stairways and bridges that line the streets as the only other way to get around the city besides bike or boat.
The famed St. Mark's square resides here along with several famous buildings that one instantly recognizes. It is truly an experience that everyone should have the chance to see firsthand. You can arrive here by bus and then boat, or directly by train from several locations throughout Italy.
Once in Venice, you can take a Gondola, the famed boats around the waterways. Another great thing to do here is have a Bellini, which is the famed drink invented here at Harry's Bar. This drink is a mixture of peach puree and sparkling white wine. Harry's Bar is located at Calle Vallaresso, 1323 (west of the Piazza San Marco). Another great thing to do is visit St. Mark's square which hosts museums, shops, restaurants, and famous statues including the winged lion, which is the symbol of Venice.
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is by far my favorite town in all of California. This is where I grew up and a place I hope to return to someday to reside. It is a nice big little city that boasts gorgeous beaches, not too much traffic, excellent restaurants, amazing sunsets, and a great laid back lifestyle that can be based around awesome activities like boating, fishing, surfing, biking, swimming, hiking, running, etc.
Santa Barbara is located about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles and can be found off of the 101 Freeway. It is located near some of the Channel Islands as well. These provide added beauty to an already gorgeous area.
When you come to Santa Barbara you want to visit the Santa Barbara Courthouse which boasts an amazing fountain and a mural in one of the main courtrooms upstairs. It is located in the downtown area. If you choose to go to the clock tower you will find an excellent view of the city.
Another place of interest is the Santa Barbara Pier. Here you will find shops and restaurants. At the entrance you will see the famous dolphin fountain. An identical fountain resides in Puerto Vallarta, which is the sister city to Santa Barbara that is located in Mexico.
El Nido, Palawan
This place is a bit difficult to get to unless you don't mind being crammed like a sardine into an overfilled van that travels through windy mountain roads sometimes off of pavement onto rocky dirt roads to get there. However, once you are there, El Nido is by far one of the most beautiful places you will find in all of the Philippines.
It is quite worth the journey if you love crystal clear waters, gorgeous limestone cliffs, and vegetation galore. It is also a great place to visit because it is cheap. You can take a day tour to several islands for snorkeling or hiking with a lunch included for around $17 US dollars.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a definite must see city. Most everyone is friendly there, they boast excellent public transportation in the form of B(ay) A(rea) R(apid) T(ransit), there are amazing sites to see such as the Trans-America building, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge, and it is an extremely diverse city with so many things to do. There is never a boring day in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Additionally, there is so much beautiful nature to see in the surrounding areas, such as the Napa Valley and Muir Woods among others. These places boast gorgeous forests and Napa has wineries that produce some of the world's best wines. Now who can pass up a good bottle of wine?
Waikiki, although it is not what it used to once be, is still a must visit at least once in your lifetime. Although, the hotels are expensive along with the food, a good luau and show can still be had for around $50 including round trip transportation.(more on that later)
Although Hawaii has been overrun with tourists and become the victim of pollution, it is still holds a particular charm, especially from the people who inhabit the islands.
Once in Waikiki, an international airport, you can fly to one of the many beautiful surrounding islands that are open to the public. There you will find an array of natural beauty that will form memories of a lifetime.
Tips and Sidenotes
While visiting this island, you want to escape the touristy areas and see the parts of the island that most tourists don't. There you will find both beautiful natural wonders as well as culinary delights that have treated those who made the journey for decades.
Matsumoto Shave Ice
Matsumoto Grocery has been treating patrons to their famous shave ice for decades. No, that wasn't a typo. Here they call it shave ice instead of shaved ice. Once you arrive at this famous local, you can choose from a multiple variety of flavors and even add vanilla ice cream to your shave ice. Then enjoy it outside in the warm sun on one of the benches outside of the store.
To get here, you will need to rent a car, unless you are on a tour that happens to be going there. This is the best course of action while visiting the island. Even though getting around is pretty basic, make sure you have a GPS or are adept at reading maps, should you venture out.
Matsumoto Grocery Store is located at 66-087 Kamehameha Highway Haleiwa, HI 96712. From Waikiki, it is mostly highway /freeway driving. When you return, take the time to explore the backside of the island. It takes a little longer but, it is definitely worth it!
Exploring the Other Side
When you explore the back side of the island, not only will get to see an immense amount of natural wonders, but you will find small little establishments that will make you smile. While exploring the back side, stop at this great little grill where they have specials abound on the menu.
Here I got the pulled pork special, which ran only $7. This included a heap of pulled pork, a roll, rice/french fries, salad, and a drink. On an island that seems to be one of the most expensive places I have been as far as food goes, this was a welcome surprise!
After our meal at this filling inexpensive grill, we treated ourselves to some of the natural beauty out back as the back area was lined with gorgeous mountains and trees that outlined the skyline.
Once full, you can continue on your journey back to Waikiki. It should take you about another 40 minutes approximately from this location.
Experiencing a Luau
Of course, you can't visit Hawaii without having tried a luau at least once. One of the best, which has also been around the longest is Germaine's luau. They have buses that pick up guests from around the Waikiki area, so you need to contact them to find out where to go.
A bus with a guide, will take you on an entertaining bus ride around the island. Once you arrive you will have your photo taken on the beach, given drink tickets, and seated. There you will enjoy drinks and a show - including the roasting of the pig. Finally, you will enjoy your meal the rest of the show, and dessert before then heading back to your pick up point in Waikiki.
Want to take a trip back in time about 2000 years? Go visit Italy, specifically Rome. This city is filled with amazing architecture that dates back hundreds and thousands of years. Rome specifically has so many marvels to see, such as Il Colliseo, or the Colliseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and others. One will never have enough time visiting this city. That is for sure!
The great thing about Rome is that you can get a fairly cheap city bus tour that takes you around to all of the hot spots. You can stay on or get off as you choose at each of the sites. Then, you can simply hop back on the next bus to go to the next location or back to your original destination. This provides a hassle free way of getting around this crowded city.
Hong Kong, China
Overall, I did not like Hong Kong, but that is because it was crowded, a lot of people were rude, pushed and shoved on the trains, and were unhelpful. Plus the city streets smelled nasty to me personally, but I would definitely put it on a list of top ten places to visit, just because of its worldwide fame for both history and technology. It was also an interesting to see the buildings light up at night along with the bridges. Plus going to a street market was quite an experience. I'm glad I did it once, but I would never return to China again.
When you are in Hong Kong, some things you might want to do include visiting the famed Nathan Road, taking a train to Hong Kong Disneyland, visiting the Gold Coast, taking a night boat tour that includes the Symphony of Lights, taking a tram to Victoria Peak, or visiting one of the day or night markets such as Ladies Market.
Want to go back even further in time? Travel to Pompeii. This ancient city is famed for it's still standing structures and shapes of the people that once lived and thrived here before Mount Vesuvius destroyed it in the year 79 AD. The bath houses still partially stand to this day, showing remains of decorative walls that displayed Eros and other amazing figures.
Walking down the streets of this magnificent city makes one feel like they have traveled back in time thousands of years. Looking at the plaster molds of the people that once died here is a stark reminder of the dangers of living near a great volcano.
If you wish to get to Pompeii, check with www.trenitalia.it. The times and routes of the trains vary depending on your schedule and desired stops along the way. There are, however, many trains that can get you from Rome to Pompeii quite easily.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are a great place to visit for many different reasons. The inhabitants there are like no other you will find anywhere on the mainland of the United States, or in any of the fifty states. The laid back island lifestyle is quite relaxing and the views are picturesque.
Once here you can swim, snorkel, jet ski, or dive in the gorgeous blue waters. Here you can sit back and relax while enjoying the tropical music and sipping on a delicious mixed drink. This is also a place where the whole family can find something fun to do. If you get bored, island hopping is just a few minutes away.
The Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
This famed location just won the latest worldwide competition titled, The New 7 Wonders of Nature. When one comes to this location it is easy to see why it was a winner. This place is absolutely magnificent and allows one to travel into the world's longest navigable underground river.
Getting there is half the fun, as you pass large Karst Mountians made from limestone, travel through jungle, travel past the gorgeous West Coast of Palawan, and trek through a forest, all before taking your boat ride into the underground cavern.
Once inside you will find amazing rock structures including stalagmites and stalactites. Additionally, you will see amazing formations that take the shape of things like dinosaurs, animals, people, and plant life. Further, there are bats and birds that mimic bats inside. Having traveled around the world, it is easy to see why this place has become one of the most sought out destinations for nature lovers and travelers alike.
Getting to the Underground River is quite simple. Just book a tour from any agent at the airport, almost any hotel, or travel agency. Believe me, it will not be difficult. They will approach you about it.
That concludes the top ten places to travel tour. They were all difficult to choose from as there are many great locations around the world. I have also added some notable mentions below, which I struggled with leaving off of this list, but in the end I chose to do so. I hope you find this information helpful and informative. I also hope this has answered your question of the top ten places to visit in the world. Now you should have some new great ideas about places you plan to visit.
Other Notable Mentions
Mayon Volcano, Legazpi, Philippines
This place is quite an amazing destination and just missed the list (barely). Here you will find the world's most perfect cone shaped volcano. There is no reason to travel to Japan to see Mount Fuji, when you can go here much cheaper and see an even more perfectly shaped volcano. The best part, it is still active.
To get to the Mayon Volcano you must land in Legazpi. This city can be accessed from many original destinations, but the easiest is Manila. Domestic airlines like Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, and others fly here daily. Once in Legazpi, the cheapest way to get to the Volcano is to negotiate with a taxi driver for an early morning pick up between 5:30 to 6:30 in the morning. It is best to go in the morning because in the afternoon cloud cover usually tops the volcano making it nearly impossible to see. It can also be seen directly from the airport on a clear day. However, it is best to view it from Lignon Hill or near the Cagsawa Ruins.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, or L.A., is a must see at least one time in your life. Being born there, it doesn't have quite the appeal to me, but this is where many stars live and it has Hollywood, Bel Air, Redondo Beach, and Beverly Hills.
It also has some great places to eat, one of which I would always recommend to anyone, Tito's Tacos, off of Washington. This place is not flashy, but it is oh so good. I always stop here anytime I am back in the area.
While the smog and the traffic would never make me want to live there, visiting every once in a while is quite alright. Plus if you have never been there, it is a definite must see to put on the to-do list.
New York, New York
New York, or "The Big Apple" as it is known, is another place I would only do once. It is similar to Hong Kong in that most people are rude, push you out of the way, are not very helpful, and in New York, the weather often is really really bad. Of course there are some nice New Yorkers, but in general that is what you will find.
There are so many places to visit including Broadway, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center site (at the time I visited it was still standing), Times Square, Yankee Stadium (Even though I hate the Yankees), and many great restaurants. It is also way too expensive there, but again, it is worth seeing just once.
We visited there one of a few times we have been there for New Year's Eve on December back in 1995. At that time the World Trade Center was still standing and that was quite an experience, no not a pleasant one, a quite scary one. Have you ever been outside 110 stories in the air on a building that moves on wheels so it doesn't collapse on itself as it sways back and forth in the wind? Not a good experience.
We also went to Times Square for the New Years experience in such wonderful weather, a whopping 3 degrees. Oh it got better, with the wind chill factor it was -27 It didn't seem that bad while the countdown was happening, but once the clock struck midnight everyone dispersed and we were stuck running for our lives to Penn Station to catch a train back to Long Island. No, we weren't being chased by muggers. We were running from bone chilling cold. The saddest part, I had about three thick layers of clothing and thermal underwear on. Guess I am just a weak kid from Cali.
Boston is another great historical city and a great sports town if you like American sports. It has famed buildings some of which have been standing for a few hundred years, it has great food, a decent public transportation system, some good parks, and great sports teams.
The nation's capital city is filled with monuments, memorials, and famous buildings. When you visit this city you can view the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial, the Washington Monument, The Smithsonian Museum, and a whole host of other amazing sites.
This city is a must see for any American citizen at least once in your life. It is also quite interesting for the traveler as it draped with so much history and intrigue.
Want to experience a small island like no other? Then you should visit the island of Boracay located in the Philippines. It has been voted one of the best island destinations and provides a relaxing experience with many bars and restaurants set on the white sand beaches located next to the blue waters. Diving, jet skiing, wind surfing, island hopping, and snorkeling can all be done here relatively cheaply compared to places like Hawaii or the Caribbean. It is definitely a unique place that one should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Florence is another place that was hard to leave off of the top ten, but then again, you can only choose ten so something has to give. The city streets are filled with excellent restaurants, piazzas, and ancient buildings that will fill your heart with amazement and joy. The Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, still spans the Arno River after 500 years. It is easy to see why artists like Leonardo da Vinci became so inspired by this great city.
- Austin T. Fox: A Star Sweeping A Nation
The newest sensation and fan of the Boston Red Sox, Austin T. Fox, takes the Philippines by storm and gains a large following!