I feel fortunate enough to have crossed off a lot of places on my list I’ve been wanting to visit for years. Marrakech, Morocco was on my list for at least 10 years before I went in 2013. For years I just KNEW Rome, Italy would be one of my favorite places in the world – once I visited in 2011, I proved that right. Now that I’m coming up on my #20 country visited (my upcoming trip to the UAE in April), I’m finding even more places that are topping my travel wishlist. Not including Dubai and Bangkok, where I’m going soon, here’s my top 10 places I’m dying to visit.
10. Porto & Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal is often passed up for it’s more famous neighbor, Spain. But Portugal seems to have it all! Beaches, culture, plus lots of great wine! I’m a sucker for cities that have the best of both worlds, and I feel like Porto and Lisbon are it!
9. Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, via Magical Kenya Tourism Board
I’ve already stepped on the continent of Africa, but I’m more than ready to go back. Nairobi, Kenya has a ton of safari packages you can take to see giraffes, elephants and lions (oh my!) but also has a bustling city life with more than a taste of luxury. I admit that last year’s mall massacre turned me off a bit, but something like that is just as likely to happen in the States. Kenya here I come!
8. Tokyo, Japan
Once I can get over the long flight, I think Tokyo would be an amazing trip. Being from the DC area, I have a fondness for cherry blossoms, so I’d love to go see those. I always hear how places like Tokyo feel like they’re “from the future”, so all the amazing technology would be a major plus for me. Besides, who doesn’t want to party with the harajuku girls, get some amazing sushi and take in the gorgeous shrines all in one trip?
7. Dubrovnik, Croatia
A lot of people balk when I say how badly I want to go to Croatia, but it’s been on my list for years! Dubrovnik is a small town filled with lots of art, culture and a big big yacht scene. I’m hoping someday to go to Yacht Week in Croatia and sail the beautiful Mediterranean.
6. Capetown, South Africa
If you haven’t noticed by now, I have a thing for water! I always hear nothing but good reviews about Capetown. I’m attracted to the luxury life that they have there, but also all the history and culture in the city. I’d love to learn more about apartheid, as well as take a day trip out to Robben Island, the prison where the late and great Nelson Mandela spent so many of his years. I’m a big fan of sharks and while I don’t think I’d go cage diving, I’d love to go out on a boat to see the numerous Great White Sharks off the coast of Capetown. Airline tickets are super expensive from NYC to Capetown, but I’m keeping my eye out for a deal!
5. Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
While everyone wants to party in Rio, give me Salvador, Brazil any day! Salvador is the 3rd largest city in Brazil, located in the state of Bahia. Salvador was also listed in 2007 as having the largest amount of Afro-Brazilians in all of Brazil. The African influence is the heaviest of all cities in Brazil, plus the sun shines year round, with miles and miles of beach coastline.
4. Sydney, Australia
In my quest to hit all 7 continents, I’m hoping to hit Sydney, Australia later this year. The biggest draw of Sydney for me is the fact that Australia hits the new year before any other country. I would love to ring in the New Year in Sydney, as well as check another continent off my list!
3. Havana, Cuba
There’s always something about the forbidden fruit…you just can’t help but want to take a bite! For all my American readers, we have a lot of hoops to jump through to make it to Cuba – but that’s a part of the draw! What I’ve seen (online) of Cuba looks like a beautiful country, rich with history and full of vibrance! Right up my alley. Sadly, Americans can only go on tours to Cuba, and in my research they all seem to be a grossly overpriced. Someday I’ll cough up the change, but not sure if it’s anytime soon!
2. Cartagena, Colombia
Forget what you may have heard about Colombia in the ’80s. Colombia is now a travel hotspot, more specifically Cartagena. It’s a beautiful walkable city with cute, narrow cobblestone streets. Just like in Salvador and Havana, there are tons of brightly painted buildings and massive cathedrals to explore. Cartagena also has a strong African influence, with a considerable amount of Afro Colombians that call Cartagena their home. It’s also a musical city – it’s not uncommon to come upon an outdoor street party, with lots of beer, lively music and dancing. Cartagena is on the coast of Colombia – it’s fairly easy to enjoy their beaches. One of the best beaches in Colombia is on the island of San Andres, just a short flight from Cartagena. Now do you see why this is number 2??
1. Prague, Czech Republic
I’ve been trying for years to get to Prague, but it just hasn’t happened! Prague appeals to the little girl inside of me that still believes in fairy tales. Prague, located in the Czech Republic, has many castles, the most famous being the Prague Castle. Prague is a small, walkable city that has an air of romance – I think the castles probably help with that. It seems like the type of place where I could have an extended vacation – maybe write my novel while overlooking the Vltava River, or at a quaint cafe near the Old Town Square. Either way, I hope to make it to Prague very soon – I’m almost certain it will live up to my hype!
What’s on your travel wishlist? Which ones are you intent on crossing off first?
Extra reading material:
Portugal Tourism Board
Kenya Tourism Board
Tokyo Tourism Board
Croatia Tourism Board
Capetown Tourism Board
Brazil Tourism Board
Sydney Tourism Board
Cuba Tourism Board (Canadian site)
Colombia Tourism Board
Prague Tourism Board