With so many hotspots across the globe, it’s hard to name the must-sees that should make everyone’s bucket list. After much deliberation, we’ve whittled it down to Brownell’s 45 Must See Places. From the capitals of Europe to the mystical cities of the Far East, each city offers something unique for visitors. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start crossing places off your list! In no particular order…
1. London, England
The royals! The pubs! The history! London’s calling! Explore the museums, markets, and more in the crown jewel of England.
2. Cartagena, Colombia
One of the hottest new South American destinations, Cartagena is a colorful Caribbean spot filled with history, beaches, and seafood. Wander down the streets of the walled Old City, try a glass of fresh coconut water, and take in the Spanish-influence of this majestic city.
3. Cusco, Peru
“I love Cusco for its historical relevance and preservation. Everywhere you turn, you can see the Incan as well as the Spanish Colonial influence. My favorite is having a traditional Peruvian meal from the Incan and Colonial periods at Deva Restaurant Tipico. Another favorite is just walking the Plaza de Armas at night—the lights are magical.” – Stacy Bagwell
While you’re in Cusco, be sure to check out Machu Picchu!
4. Granada, Spain
Tucked into the base of the Sierra Nevada, Granada has an enchanting combination of Islamic influence mixed with a traditional Spanish feel. The dazzling Alhambra is must-see as well as dining on delicious tapas.
5. Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto offers visitors insight into where Japan’s ancient heritage and modern life collide. With around 2000 temples and shrines, it is easy to find serenity in these picturesque spots. After exploring this city, you’ll leave with an inner peace you never knew existed.
6. Munich, Germany
“Munich brings together young and old to celebrate historic and modern Germany. Visitors can enjoy a concert by a legendary rock act like The Rolling Stones, or an impromptu symphony in one of Munich’s beautiful plazas.” –Haisley Smith
7. Barcelona, Spain
The architecture, the beaches, the food, the nightlife—Barcelona (pronounced “Barthelona if you want to sound like a local) is a vibrant Spanish city bursting with an energy that is simply contagious.
8. New York City, NY
From Frank Sinatra’s classic New York, New York to Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind, after a visit to “The City” you’ll leave wanting to write your own ballad about this magical place. From the world-class shopping to any cuisine you can imagine to an array of cultural experiences, everyone needs to visit this concrete jungle.
9. Venice, Italy
As you explore the breathtaking canals and bridges of Venice, you can’t help but feel like you are on a movie set. There’s nothing like getting lost in the winding streets and visiting the famous churches and palazzi.
10. Prague, Czech Republic
“When my husband and I were in Prague, the food and beverage manager at The Augustine mapped out a tour of his favorite pubs in Prague and we spent the night on our own personal pub crawl tasting delicious Czech beers, exploring neighborhoods we never would have seen on a traditional tour, and getting to know the locals. Prague is such a dynamic city that is only now coming into its own; it is fascinating to hear the locals talk about the evolution of their fashion and pop-culture and their aspirations for their future.” –Jessica Ourisman
11. Havana, Cuba
Renovated squares sprinkled with lively restaurants and street musicians give Havana an almost vintage feel. Dine in one of the paladars (family-run restaurants) for an authentic experience.
12. Varanasi, India
This mystical city located on the Ganges River is the holiest city in the Hindu religion. Take a morning boat ride on the river and watch the pilgrims performing rituals on the ghats.
13. Jerusalem, Israel
An intersection of three of the world’s major religions, Jerusalem’s historical significance stretches deep into the past. As one of the oldest cities in the world, thousands of visitors explore the walled Old City and surrounding areas every year.
14. Beijing, China
“China has such a long history and rich culture, yet it’s also full of change and growth. In Beijing, you get a taste of both. Walking along the Great Wall or through the Forbidden City takes you back to a time of dynasties and emperors, while touring the Bird’s Nest from the 2008 Olympics gives you a glimpse of the new. My favorite stop is the Hongqiao Market, where you can find beautiful pearls for a deal—if you’re willing to bargain!” –Elaine Anderson
15. Lalibela, Ethiopia
Home to 11 rock-hewn churches, this is a place you need to see to believe. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the country’s most holy cities.
16. Athens, Greece
The birthplace of Democracy as well as some of the greatest minds to have walked the earth, Athens is a clear choice for a must-see. Tour the ruins but also wander through the street markets and experience how far this city has come in 3000+ years.
17. Kathmandu, Nepal
Settled at the base of the Himalayas is the bustling city of Kathmandu. A melting pot of cultures, this city was once a key stop on the trade route between Tibet and India offers. Today it is often a pit stop for adventurers daring to take on Mt. Everest. For those just wanting to see the mountains, take a mountain flight for dramatic views.
18. Paris, France
The City of Lights. The City of Love. Paris. Simply one of the most romantic destinations, visitors can find something new with every neighborhood and market. Grab a baguette and cheese and explore the city. There is something so simple and beautiful about walking, enjoying delicious bread, and soaking up such a beautiful city.
19. Bagan, Myanmar
“Myanmar is a mysterious country, closed to the world for so many years but has so many beautiful sites to see. Spend an afternoon exploring the temples and local villages of Bagan, and enjoy the magnificent sunset from the top of one of the 3000+ temples in the 36 square kilometer area around the city. You must also do a balloon ride to appreciate the scope of the landscape covered in Buddhist temples, pagodas and stuppas.” –Sam McClure
20. Petra, Jordan
Tucked into the deserts of Jordan lies Petra, ancient city cut into the rocks. Pictures don’t do this destination justice—you must see it in order to truly appreciate its glory.
21. Luxor, Egypt
You’ll return home with beautiful photos, if nothing else, after a visit to Luxor. This photogenic city is known as “the world’s greatest open air museum” with its ancient Egyptian sites and landmarks.
22. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
“The dramatic dragon-like limestone rock formations in Ha Long Bay help make this a Unesco World Heritage site. Overnight on a “junk” with visits to islands and yoga sessions — a very special experience!” says Randi Rosenberg
23. Rio de Janerio, Brazil
Although Rio de Janerio comes alive during Carnival, it is a fabulous destination year-round. Take a cable car ride to the top of Sugar Loaf and a spectacular view of Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches awaits you. To complete a visit to Rio, an evening at the Samba and folkloric show are a must!
24. Vancouver, Canada
Home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver offers world-class skiing and winter sports but doubles as a must-see summer destination. With both ocean and mountain views this city beckons visitors to spend time outside. Quick trips to Victoria and Whistler make it a great hub for all types of activity!
25. Sydney, Australia
“I love Sydney because of the sheer number of things to see and do. You’ll never be bored as you wander around town hitting so many of the sights on your Australia bucket list! My favorite thing was climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge – what a view!” –Amanda Foshee
26. Zanzibar, Tanzania
“At the very top of my personal travel bucket list is to go swimming with octopus. I think they are amazing creatures and they are known to be very interactive in the wild. One of the best (and most exotic) opportunities to do this in in Zanzibar in August and September. Someday, I will make it there!” –Jessica Ourisman
27. Rome, Italy
There’s a reason that all roads lead to Rome. This city’s rich influence stretched around the world. Simply walking down the streets of Rome is like strolling through a museum. With Renaissance buildings alongside ancient ruins next to charming restaurants, there is truly nothing like this city.
28. Vienna, Austria
“Vienna has so much to offer these days and romance is definitely one of them. Take a day or an evening to cruise the famous Blue Danube river. Sit back and enjoy the slower pace while you float by picturesque villages.” –Jessica Ourisman
29. Istanbul, Turkey
“A cosmopolitan city that could serve as a model for the rest of the world, Istanbul is a melting pot of religions, cultures, beautiful antiquities and beautiful people.” –Haisley Smith
30. Tokyo, Japan
This booming metropolis is known for its high energy, busy streets, and unique fashion. Step away from the crowds and experience historical sites alongside modern buildings. And don’t forget to enjoy plenty of sushi.
31. New Orleans, LA
The French influence melds perfectly with Southern culture to create a unique destination: New Orleans. The food, music, and culture of “The Big Easy” is unlike any other.
32. Siem Reap, Cambodia
“I loved Siem Reap, Cambodia because of all of the history. It was one of the most breathtakingly beautiful destinations I have traveled to. My favorite thing was visiting Angkor Wat and discovering the unique architecture.” – Caroline Couch
33. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Overlooking the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is a true gem. One of the few ports that could rival Venice in the Middle Ages, this city offers stunning views from ancient buildings and sites. Have a drink at Buza, a bar set into the rocks with sweeping vistas of the water.
34. Bangkok, Thailand
The capital of “The Land of Smiles” keeps visitors happy with myriad things to do. From dining to exploring to shopping to clubbing, Bangkok has a high energy that makes this one of the most visited cities in the world. Dine at Lord Jim’s in the Mandarin Oriental, and request a window for amazing views.
35. Marrakech, Morocco
From bargaining at the many souks to admiring the gorgeous architecture, Marrakech is a truly enchanting destination. Be sure to visit the Majorelle Garden, owned by designer Yves Saint Laurent.
36. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Surrounded by European-style architecture, you will understand why Buenos Aires is called the “Paris of South America”. Argentina’s capital offers sophisticated dining, amazing shopping, and a vibrant nightlife. This stylish city is the birthplace of tango, so if you’re feeling bold hit the dance floor and give it a try.
37. Budapest, Hungary
“Spa is the name of the game in Budapest. The city is divided into two parts, Buda and Pest (pronounced Pesht), but on either side, you can enjoy reasonably priced ancient spa treatments.” –Haisley Smith
38. Porto, Portugal
The second largest city in Portugal, Porto is home to one of the oldest European city centers. Visitors can dine along the river or sample the city’s most famous export: port wine. Spend an afternoon touring the port wine producers, and you’ll come home feeling like an expert!
39. Cape Town, South Africa
“My ultimate FAVORITE destination on this list, Cape Town is a must see for any world traveler. The juxtaposition of European architecture, incredible Cape Malay cuisine, and the wild South African landscape is almost too much to absorb all at once! Of course, everybody wants to go to South Africa for safari, but Cape Town is a destination that should not be ignored. You can dive with great white sharks, taste delicious and unique wines, shop for coveted ostrich leather handbags, take cooking lessons with world renowned chefs, and the list goes on and on!” –Jessica Ourisman
40. Amsterdam, Netherlands
“Amsterdam was an amazing experience. I read The Diary of Anne Frank growing up, and it was so touching to see where she actually lived (and how small it really is). Also, the Van Gogh Museum is a must—so much genius in one building!” –Brooke Drinkard
41. Monte Carlo, Monaco
“Monte Carlo is an amazing, walkable city (if you save your stilettos for evening). We love hotel Metropole for it’s proximity to the casino, marina, green spaces and dining.” –Haisley Smith
42. Jaipur, India
A visit to the Pink City is a must when in India. The rich artistic culture is apparent in the gorgeous architecture of the city. The Hawa Mahal is one that is on everyone’s list as it is the entrance to the City Palace.
43. Florence, Italy
For a small city, Florence is absolutely packed with history, art, culture, and cuisine. From the long corridors of the Uffizi to the bustling leather market, this cultural center of the Renaissance movement is a sight to behold. Stay up late to get a beautiful view of the famous Duomo without the hordes of tourists.
44. Maui, Hawaii
“Maui has become one of my favorite beach destinations in the world! Immerse yourself in the Hawaiian culture, hike the waterfalls, learn to surf or stand up paddleboard, snorkel with the dolphins and sea turtles, or bike down Haleakala at sunrise. Whether relaxing on the beach or mixing with the locals, you will leave a piece of your heart in Maui.” –Deborah Barth
45. Old Town San Juan, Puerto Rico
“I tell all of my clients heading to Puerto Rico to set aside at least one day to explore Old San Juan and an absolutely MUST SEE is the Casa de Espana, a beautiful historic building with 1930s moorish architecture. Once you’re there, be sure to make time for dinner at Restaurante Casa de Espana on the second floor and prepare to tuck-in to the most amazing Paella you will ever taste! Bring friends because the portion size is enormous!” –Jessica Ourisman